NJ Dealers to Pay $1.8M Settlement For Misleading their Customers

Deceptive auto practices are unacceptable, especially when it comes to big players in the auto industry such as General Motors. But a big slice of the shady practices pie is held by small dealerships, not the big boys.
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No less than 8 New Jersey car dealers have agreed to come up with $1.8 million and pay the state's Division of Consumer Affairs for sneaky sales tactics. Specifically, no less than 45 people complained to Consumer Affairs bigwigs that the aforementioned dealers failed to inform about previous damage or defects of the cars that were sold, translating to unexpected after-sale expenses.

As if that wasn't bad enough, some affected buyers reported that certain dealers didn't even advertise the selling price of the sold vehicles in question. We imagine coming up to the sales guy, asking how much a particular Honda goes for, only to be replied with a not so graceful "Aaaaa… 10 grand, but I may be wrong about that selling price. Wait a minute. Oh, it's actually $12,495!"

Nevertheless, the baddies that made the list are four Route 22 dealers from Hillside (Honda, Toyota, Nissan and Kia), Freehold Hyundai and Chrysler-Jeep, together with Heckettstown Honda and Hudson Honda from West New York. Mind you, this is not the first time investigators fined the eight-dealer network owned by Carmelo and Ignazio Guiffre. 1999 saw a similar mess-up happen, which finalized with a $450,000 settlement of which $250k were offered as a compensatory fund for the deceived.

"The consequences, including a civil penalty of $1.8 million, are particularly appropriate in light of the fact that the owners of these dealerships allegedly violated an earlier settlement in which they had promised not to engage in such practices," declared NJ Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman in a recent statement. Thankfully, the deceived will be provided monetary restitution for the trouble, while a compliance monitor payed by Guiffres themselves will supervise dealership operations for two years.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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