Channel | Auto Industry News

N.J. Dealer Agrees to Pay $136,000 to Resolve Consumer Fraud Investigation

NEWARK, N.J. — Sansone Hyundai has agreed to pay $136,000 to resolve charges that it failed to disclose the total price of certain advertised vehicles and charged consumers for F&I products listed at “no charge” on certain leases and sales contracts,” New Jersey Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the state’s Division of Consumer Affairs announced on Friday.

The dealership, winner of DealerRater’s 2016 and 2017 Consumer Satisfaction Award, also agreed to change its advertising, sales, and leasing practices, including disclosing all costs and fees associated with the purchase or lease of a vehicle before consumers sign on the dotted line.

“Consumers should be able to purchase a new car without having to worry about misinformation and hidden costs,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This settlement ensures that consumers will receive transparency and honesty from this dealership, as required by law.”

The settlement was announced three days after New York’s Nissan of Rochelle, located two hours north of Sansone, agreed to pay more than $298,000 to settle Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s charges that it willfully defrauded 298 car buyers by tacking on a window-etch programs after customers agreed to a price for the vehicle and often without their knowledge.

In a consent order with the Division of Consumer Affairs, Sansone Hyundai and its directors agreed not to add and charge for aftermarket products, such as window etch and service contracts, without the consumers’ knowledge and/or authorization, or represent to consumers that certain dealer-installed options are mandatory when they’re not.

The New Jersey dealership also agreed not to sell consumers aftermarket products that overlap or provide similar benefits the consumer has already purchased through the lease and sale transaction; accurately reflect in leases the “gross capitalized cost” as required by the consumer leasing act; provide consumers with an opportunity to review all leases and/or sales documents and/or aftermarket contracts prior to signing; and not identify the advertised prices of vehicles by reference to the MSRP sticker, when the vehicle includes an addendum to the MSRP sticker that reflects a higher total price.

The dealership must also comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, the Automotive Sales Regulations, and the Consumer Leasing Act, according to the consent order.

“Dealerships must fully disclose all costs and fees associated with the purchase or lease of a vehicle before consumers sign on the dotted line,” said Steve Lee, director of New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will continue to enforce the laws and regulations in place to ensure consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions.”

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