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Richmond tire shop pays back customers after ‘bait and switch’ bust

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RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond-based auto body shop will pay back customers as part of a settlement reached with the Virginia Attorney General's Office.

Shockoe Bottom Automotive & Tires, Inc., also known as Shockoe Bottom Tires and Emerald Tires, was accused of offering tires and services for one price, but ultimately charging customers a higher price.

That, the Virginia Attorney General's Office said, violated Virginia's "bait and switch" statute.

"Honest advertising is one of the most basic requirements of doing business in Virginia," Attorney General Mark Herring said. "A business can't just advertise one price then charge customers more when they actually arrive at the door."

A June 2016 lawsuit alleged the tire shop:

Advertised tires for sale on the front of its building for $25, but failed to honor that price with consumers who purchased tires at the shop;

Posted coupons, in the store and online, offering tires "buy 3 get 1 free," then refused to honor those terms

Advertised a tire alignment service as included with the price of tires, but refused to provide the alignment service to consumers who purchased tires.

"Consumers have a right to rely on the advertisements and representations a company makes," Herring said.

As part of the settlement, the shop agreed to the following terms:

Shockoe Bottom Tires agrees to provide refunds to Virginia consumers who file a complaint and who suffered "monetary harm" on or after September 1, 2013, including any amount paid at Shockoe Bottom Tires' East Main St. location:

1. in excess of $25 for any tire purchased;

2. for a fourth tire where three tires were purchased at one time;

3. for an alignment where the consumer purchased two or more tires and sought but did not receive a free alignment; or

4. any other charges incurred as a result of Shockoe Bottom Tires' failure to honor its advertised terms or price(s).

In order to qualify for reimbursement, customers must file a qualifying complaint with the Virginia Attorney General's Office by August 7, 2017.

You can file those complaints by phone at (800) 552-9963, by email, or via online complaint form.