— Mercedes-Benz parts are the focus of a proposed class-action lawsuit alleging the automaker charged customers premium prices for cheap parts. Lead plaintiff Steve Ferrari claims Mercedes advertised it used only genuine parts when the automaker was charging double for non-Mercedes replacement parts.
The lawsuit says Mercedes-Benz owners have lost at least $6.5 million paying for non-Mercedes parts that aren't as good as true Mercedes-Benz parts. Based on court documents, the plaintiff accuses Mercedes of committing fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violating the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The racketeering charge is based on the relationship between Autobahn Motors Inc. and Sonic Automotive, both companies allegedly part of the scheme.
The suit claims the operations manager at Autobahn Motors is the person who started and managed the alleged scheme, advertising for years that only genuine Mercedes parts were used as replacement parts. Mercedes allegedly has always known about the scheme because of its close relationship with Autobahn.
The plaintiffs say the defendants knowingly sold the non-Mercedes parts and committed fraud by advertising the parts were genuine.
Sonic Automotive is named as a defendant because it has over 100 dealerships tied to Mercedes-Benz.
The plaintiff claims the entire process is similar to a parts-laundering fraud because Autobahn buys non-original Mercedes parts from the same companies that it sells genuine parts. Autobahn also allegedly sends body repair work to a third-party company when all advertising says Autobahn's repair shop actually did all the repairs.
The Mercedes-Benz parts lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California - Ferrari, et al. v. Mercedes-Benz USA LLC, et al.
The plaintiffs are represented by Franck & Associates.