CHARLESTON - A Cabell County woman has filed a class action lawsuit against a local car dealership, claiming she was misled after receiving an advertisement that entitled her to several thousands dollars off a vehicle.

Carol Patterson filed a suit Nov. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Tri-State Chrysler Jeep and Smart Automotive Group, seeking compensation for her damages and for others who are in similar situations.

Patterson claims she received a direct mail solicitation, which indicated she had won a contest that entitled her to $4,000 off any vehicle sold by the dealership.

"In reality, and unbeknownst to Dr. Patterson, there was no 'contest,' she had not actually 'won' anything, and the $4,000 coupon value was illusory," the suit says.

However, Patterson visited the dealership Nov. 18, 2006, and agreed to purchase a vehicle for $24,475. She did not receive any reduction in price from the "$4,000 off" coupon she had.

Patterson traded in a 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee for $4,500. She was not provided with a copy of the retail installment sale contract in a form she could keep prior to consummation of the sale. She was also not informed that the vehicle she purchased had previously been used as a rental vehicle.

Patterson claims that if she had known the vehicle's history, she would not have purchased it.

According to the suit, Patterson discovered numerous defects in the subject vehicle and tried to surrender her new vehicle and obtain the Jeep she traded.

Tri-State Jeep informed Patterson that her trade-in already had been sold. However, Patterson says she later learned that is was not sold until several weeks after the transaction.

"Tri-State's conduct is part of a pattern and practice of underdisclosing, disclosing in a misleading manner, or totally failing to disclose material and relevant facts about used vehicles in an effort to increase the resale value of those vehicles," the suit says.

In a nine-count suit, Patterson seeks relief for the class who are those who received a mailing solicitation within the last 10 years from Smart Automotive Group and have not filed an individual civil action alleging misconduct.

The class seeks compensation for emotional and mental distress, loss of use, aggravation, anxiety, annoyance and inconvenience. They also seek punitive damages for willful, wanton and reckless disregard for their legal rights.

Attorney David L. Grubb is representing Patterson. The case has been assigned to Judge James Stucky.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-2420

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