Conn. AG Says GEICO to Pull ‘Misleading Charo’ Ad

September 17, 2006

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said that GEICO insurance company has said it will no longer run what Blumenthal claims is “a false and misleading television advertisement” in the state that claims the company repairs cars in a few days or less.

Blumenthal has called on the company to immediately cease running the ad in which actress Charo appears with a GEICO consumer who claims that GEICO “repaired (his car) within a few days, like new.”

Blumenthal said the commercials may give consumers the false impression that GEICO actually repairs cars directly. Under state law, GEICO is not permitted to repair motor vehicles without obtaining a motor vehicle repair license. The company is also prohibited from steering or requiring that consumers use preferred auto repair shops.

According to Blumenhtal, the Auto Body Association of Connecticut alerted him to the advertisement. He said the groups claims that the ad is symptomatic of a larger problem in the industry where insurers allegedly steer business to “preferred” auto repairers.

Blumenthal has called upon on the Insurance Commissioner Susan Cogswell to investigate and enforce violations of state insurance law prohibiting insurers from steering consumers to preferred repair shops.

“Ditching this disingenuous ad is a victory for consumers – and a better business practice for GEICO,” Blumenthal said. “This incident should send a message that higher standards in insurance industry dealings are appropriate and necessary. I am delighted and thankful that GEICO has done the right thing – a sign that it will be an ally, rather than an adversary, in improving industry practices. We will continue to monitor and investigate such practices, and welcome involvement by consumers, as well as whistleblowers from the industry, and professions like the Auto Body Repair Association.”

Source: Connecticut Attorney General

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