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Rhode Island AG takes enforcement action to prevent local dealer from selling unsafe vehicles

Christian Fernsby |
Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that the Office has filed a lawsuit against a Rhode Island car dealership for deceptive sales and advertising practices, in violation of the state’s consumer protection law.

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In a complaint filed in Rhode Island Superior Court on January 25, 2024, the Attorney General alleges that King Philip Motors, based in Bristol, R.I., and its two managers, Neil and Tammy DeAlmeida, engaged in the sale and advertising of unsafe motor vehicles, including a years-long practice of failing to obtain a state safety inspection and window sticker before offering vehicles for sale.

The practice of selling vehicles without an inspection is specifically identified as a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (DTPA).

As alleged in the complaint, a consumer filed a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General regarding his experience with Defendants. According to the consumer, he purchased a GMC Acadia from Defendants and immediately began to have issues.

The next day, when the consumer’s 16-year-old child was driving home from school, the vehicle died at a traffic light. Instead of taking responsibility, Mr. DeAlmeida allegedly blamed the consumer for these issues and eventually became verbally abusive.

After the Division of Motor Vehicles began an investigation and third-party diagnosed the vehicle with a failing engine, Defendants agreed to buy it back from the consumer.

As alleged in the complaint, instead of making those needed repairs and with full knowledge the vehicle had a defective motor, Defendants turned around and sold the vehicle to another unsuspecting consumer without disclosing the issue and prior to the vehicle passing a state safety inspection.

The DMV eventually ordered King Philip Motors to buy back the vehicle.

As further alleged, another local consumer bought a vehicle at King Philip Motors but his check-engine light came on during his ride home.

The consumer attempted to have King Philip Motors fix the issues nine times, but the Defendants refused to attempt any more repairs or to pay for another repair facility to “chase ghosts.”

According to this consumer, Mr. DeAlmeida became physically threatening and told him that neither a private attorney nor the Division of Motor Vehicles Dealers’ License and Hearing Board “could do a thing about it.”

The Office of the Attorney General is seeking a court order to bar King Philip Motors from unfair and deceptive sales and advertising, as well as to obtain civil penalties for each violation.


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