Hundreds respond to Navajo human rights commission's call for former Tate's Auto customers

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times
More than 900 customers responded and provided their contact information to the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission as part of a lawsuit settlement against Tate's Auto Center.

FARMINGTON — An effort by the Office of Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission to have former customers of Tate's Auto Group contact the office regarding a court settlement has resulted in hundreds reaching out.

The office sought consumers of the closed dealerships in order for them to provide up-to-date contact information because they may be eligible for part of a $450,000 settlement reached last year between Tate's and the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC filed a complaint in 2018 against Tate's owners, accusing them of falsifying consumer information on financing documents at its dealerships in Gallup and in the Arizona communities of Holbrook, Show Low and Winslow.

This week, the human rights commission office reported that more than 900 consumers responded and provided their contact information by March 18.

Previously:Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission seeks former Tate's Auto customers

Leonard Gorman, the office's executive director, said the information collected by the office was sent to the FTC this week.

According to information provided by the office, the FTC has a list of 4,000 customers who bought vehicles from Tate's between Jan. 1, 2013 through Dec. 31, 2018.

"At the moment, no one knows who's part of that 4,000 list. Except that there are people out there that know when they purchased a vehicle from Tate's Auto," Gorman said.

However, consumers' information collected by the office will be added to the list maintained by the FTC or used to update any contact information on the FTC's list, Gorman explained.

He added that the next step in the process is for the FTC to hire a redress administrator then determine eligibility requirements for receiving refunds through the settlement.

"Just because people purchased a vehicle from Tate's Auto during that five-year period does not necessarily mean that they're eligible. We don't know the criteria at the moment," Gorman said.

Another part of the redress administrator's work is to contact those who are eligible for the settlement, he explained.

The FTC maintains a webpage for cases that result in refunds, including companies managing refund distributions, at: www.ftc.gov/enforcement/refunds.

"For me, as director of this office, I want to make sure that every penny of that settlement goes to the Navajo people or the consumers that were involved in this period of time," Gorman said.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at nsmith@daily-times.com.

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