About 10,000 Georgia car owners received a flier from General Motors last fall warning of a "potential recall," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reports. In fact, there was no recall. The flier wasn't even from GM. Instead, state regulators now say, it was the latest in a 16-year pattern of deceptive sales pitches by the largest car dealer based in Georgia – Bill Heard Chevrolet.In a lawsuit filed recently, the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs alleged the October mailing was intended to trick car owners into believing their vehicles were unsafe. Heard was trying to sell new cars or service plans on old autos, the lawsuit said.The Columbus-based dealer disputes the suit's claim that any violation was "willful," J. Matthew Maguire, one of the dealer's lawyers, said. Company executives admit the mailing was "not appropriate," he said, but contend the blame lies with an advertising firm.According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, the agency's lawsuit proposes civil fines of $5,000 for each of the mailings, or a theoretical maximum of as much as $50 million. It also seeks a judge's approval to bring future allegations directly into court, bypassing the administrative process.