The Justice Department and the state Attorney General’s office have jointly filed a lawsuit against two used car dealerships in Charlotte, accusing them of lending discrimination.
The lawsuit accuses Auto Fare Inc., Southeastern Auto Corp., and their owner, Zudhi Saadeh, of targeting African American customers with overpriced vehicles and predatory car loans, and of violating the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In one case, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper’s office says a customer ended up paying approximately 188 percent of the car’s suggested value after a 70 percent sales markup and a 29 percent interest rate. The lawsuit states that Saadeh has used racial slurs to refer to African-Americans and made statements expressing his views that African-American customers have fewer credit options, making them more likely to accept the predatory terms of the contracts offered by the defendants. The federal government says the defendants’ practices resulted in rates of default and repossession that are higher than at other used car dealers.