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Norfolk car dealership placed on 'off-limits' list for service members after unfair practices

Carafello's Auto Sales had previously been on the same "off-limits" list back in 2015 for the same reason.

NORFOLK, Va. — UPDATE: Carafello's Auto Sales was again removed from the Navy's off-limits list in March 2023 after appealing the decision with Navy officials.

The commander for the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic put a car dealership in Norfolk back on the "off-limits" list for unfair business practices. 

According to a public affairs representative, Carafello’s Auto Sales, LLC, on E. Virginia Beach Boulevard was reported to Navy officials for "bird-dogging."

Navy leaders accuse the business of targeting young sailors outside gates in Hampton Roads and the Navy exchange. 

“In this case, I can’t have young sailors taken advantage of in a way that impacts them seriously for a long period of time,” said Rear Admiral Christopher ‘Scotty’ Gray, Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.

“We very much appreciate and enjoy a working relationship with the local community; however, I have to look after the wellbeing of our sailors," said Gray. 

The business was even able to convince sailors who don't have licenses to purchase vehicles, according to a Navy spokesperson.

Carafello's had previously been on the same "off-limits" list back in 2015 for the same reason. They were removed in 2016 for providing documents to show they had become compliant with Virginia motor vehicle laws. 

The Navy says that they recently resumed the practice of bird-dogging, which led to the decision this week. 

The "off-limits list" includes businesses that Navy leaders suspect may be taking advantage of sailors, and instructs the more than 89,000 active duty service members to stay away. 

13News Now reached out to the dealership and a spokesperson declined to comment. 

Here's a list of other businesses across the area that are currently off-limits for service members for similar instances:

•  7 City’s Custom & Design, 1062 37th St., Norfolk

•  7 City’s Custom & Design, 117 E. Princess Anne Rd., Norfolk

•  Best Price Auto Sales AKA US Auto Excellence, 3336 Holland Rd, Virginia Beach

•  Mellow Smoke Tobacco Shop, 1948 Diamond Springs Rd., Virginia Beach

•  Outer Edge Gifts, 760-B J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News

•  Prime Auto AKA Skyline Auto, 4114 E. Indian River Rd, Chesapeake

•  The Vault, 86 W. Mercury Blvd., Hampton

•  The Vault, 15435-B Warwick Blvd., Newport News

•  The Vault, 4746 George Washington Memorial Hwy., Hayes

•  TKYU Bar, 1910 Atlantic Ave, Virginia Beach

Each investigation is conducted by the Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, and businesses have the opportunity to argue their case and petition to be removed from the list. 

Gray said a meeting will take place for the committee to look over the facts. 

Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney Ramin Fatehi said the practice of bird-dogging, without something more, is a civil and consumer-protection matter rather than criminal.

13News Now reached out to the office of Attorney General Jason Miyares. 

"We'd recommend that if any service members feel that they were misled by this business to reach out to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Section," said Miyares spokesperson Victoria LaCivita. 

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