New Jersey Automobile Dealership Investigation

Two New Jersey car dealership have agreed to pay $50,000 to settle claims that they violated New Jersey rules.  www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases15/Newton-Audi-VW_Redacted2.pdf. .  This claim involved something called packing involves telling the consumer the price of the vehicle and then adding additional costs to the purchase.    The dealerships agreed that they would not add additional costs to contracts for car purchases without the customer’s consent.  Other typical claims involve,

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  • Sales of Defective Cars
  • Breach of implied or express warranties or service contracts,
  • Sales of salvage vehicles,
  • bait and switch

    Here is a list of dealership where we or other counsel have presented claims, or state records show investigations.*

    Sansone Galleria  www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/Pages/08182017.aspx  (failing to disclose the total price for certain advertised vehicles, and charging consumers for aftermarket merchandise that was listed at “no charge” on certain leases and sales contracts.)
    Loman Ford
    Autoland
    21th Century Auto  www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/Pages/05012018.aspx
    Cars on 21   (dealership allegedly engaged in a host of “unconscionable and deceptive business practices,” including “bait and switch” schemes where the business advertised vehicles at low prices and then refused to sell the cars at the advertised prices.)

    Call for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Claim

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This is my third call, can I speak with someone about my purchase.  .

 

 

 

*The listing is not intended to express a statement about the dealership practice or assert that they been involved in deception in a particular case.

 

 

 

New York Deceptive Practices Statute: Cases, Commentary, and Claims

telemarket

New York has a law that prohibits fraud and deception.  This law can provide remedies for deception, fraud, false advertising or other unlawful conduct.  There are unfortunately limits and the New York law is one of the weakest in the nation.  The law and commentary.

§ 349. Deceptive acts and practices unlawful.

a) Deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service in this state are hereby declared unlawful.

b) Whenever the attorney general shall believe from evidence satisfactory to him that any person, firm, corporation or association or agent or employee thereof has engaged in or is about to engage in any of the acts or practices stated to be unlawful he may bring an action in the name and on behalf of the people of the state of New York to enjoin such unlawful acts or practices and to obtain restitution of any moneys or property obtained directly or indirectly by any such unlawful acts or practices. ..

g) This section shall apply to all deceptive acts or practices declared to be unlawful, whether or not subject to any other law of this state, and shall not supersede, amend or repeal any other law of this state under which the attorney general is authorized to take any action or conduct any inquiry.

h) In addition to the right of action granted to the attorney general pursuant to this section, any person who has been injured by reason of any violation of this section may bring an action in his own name to enjoin such unlawful act or practice, an action to recover his actual damages or fifty dollars, whichever is greater, or both such actions.

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The law continues,

“The court may, in its discretion, increase the award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to one thousand dollars, if the court finds the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this section. The court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff.”   Thus, the question is sometimes whether a deliberate violation has been shown.  Automatic or statutory damages are limited so the consumer must establish the amount of his loss of damages.

One can  compare the stronger New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.    Tripling occurs when a violation is found, not when the court decides in its discretion.   Additionally the award of legal fees is discretionary in New York, when other states provides for the recovery though the court may evaluate the amount

Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on your New York Deceptive Practices Claim

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NEW YORK CONSUMER FRAUD

A number of deceptions have been practiced in New York.  Consumers may be entitled to damages and other relief.    Typical claims are

* bait and switch, refusal to sell advertised cars or other items at the advertised price,

* fraud and deception,

Here is a list of common deceptive practices put out by New York State

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Internet (7,024 complaints): privacy issues, spyware and consumer frauds
Credit: debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement
Consumer-Related Services: security systems, restaurant/catering services, tech repairs
Automobile buying, leasing, repair, service contracts, rentals
Landlord/Tenant  residential repairs, deposit releases, tenant harassment
Mortgage mortgage and loan broker fraud, foreclosures
Retail Sales any sale of goods (food, clothing, rent-to-own)
Home Repair/Construction home improvement services not delivered or done poorly
Mail Order purchases made online or from a catalog
Telecommunications  phone cards, cellular services, pay-per-call

 

 

Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection | New York State Attorney …

https://ag.ny.gov/bureau/consumer-frauds-bureau

The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, part of the Economic Justice Division, prosecutes businesses and individuals engaged in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. In addition to litigating, the Bureau mediates thousands of complaints each year from individualconsumers.

Filing a Consumer Complaint | New York State Attorney General

https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

Law enforcement actions are taken by the Attorney General to protect the public good and to ensure a fair market place. However, for individual consumer complaints, the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection offers an informal dispute resolution program for complaints against a merchant or business.

 

Call (973) 598-1980 for a free consultation on your New York deceptive practice or consumer fraud claim.  

 

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FTC ANNOUNCES CRACKDOWN ON DECEPTION, FRAUD, IN AUTOMOBILE SALES, FINANCIAL AND LEASING.

businessman signing a contract

The Federal Trade Commission and 32 law enforcement partners today announced the results of Operation Ruse Control, a nationwide and cross-border crackdown to protect consumers when purchasing or leasing a car, encompassing 252 enforcement actions. The six new FTC cases include more than $2.6 million in monetary judgments.
There were 187 enforcement actions which include both civil and criminal charges of deceptive advertising, automotive loan application fraud, odometer fraud, deceptive add-on fees, and deceptive marketing of car title loans.

“For most people, buying a car is one of the largest purchases they’ll make,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Car ads must be truthful, loan terms must be clear, and dealer practices must be honest. That’s why our partners are working together to crack down on deceptive marketing about car sales, leasing and financing.”   “Growing fraud and other deceptive practices in auto sales and financing are important issues affecting consumers when they are buying a vehicle,” said Joyce White Vance, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama.

The FTC has taken two auto enforcement actions involving add-ons, which is the practice of a dealer or other third party adding to the vehicle sales, lease, or finance agreement charges for other products or services. A few examples include extended warranties, payment programs, guaranteed automobile protection (commonly called GAP or GAP insurance), credit life insurance, road service, theft protection, and undercoating.program averaged $775 on a standard five-year auto loan.Act (TILA) and/or Consumer Leasing Act (CLA). According to the FTC complaints, ads touted sales, lease or financing options that seemed attractive but were cancelled out by fine-print disclaimers. In other instances, the disclaimers did not disclose relevant terms, such as required down payments.

The proposed settlements in these actions prohibit the defendants from misrepresenting the purchase cost or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle.   The proposed orders also address the TILA and CLA violations by requiring the dealerships to clearly and conspicuously disclose terms required by these rules.

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HAVE YOU BEEN DECEIVED BY AN AUTOMOBILE PURCHASE  CALL (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on Your Rights

ANTI-AGING SKIN CREAM

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Our office is looking into deception and fraud claims involving anti-aging skin cream.  http://e-tvonline.com/wedding/luxurious/report.php  Some promote impressive results in a short time and celebrity endorsements.  However, some companies have reported complaints including unexpected charges.

We provide a free consultation to discuss your rights and remedies.

*the picture displayed above is not from the company.

Cash for Gold Fraud

businessman signing a contract

The Division of Consumer Affairs found extensive fraud in the cash for gold business.

the urban crackdown resulted in nearly 10,000 citations for alleged, civil violations of State consumer protection laws at 71 jewelry stores, pawn shops, and other locations.  In addition, officers confiscated 35 scales that were of types not approved for cash-for-gold transactions, or were not registered with the Office of Weights and Measures.

“This Urban Cash-For-Gold task force covered northern, central, and southern New Jersey, to ensure all consumers are protected when they sell their jewelry,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.  “The fact that our officers confiscated the scales used in nearly half of these stores demonstrates the great need to ensure these consumers are not cheated.”  http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/Pages/12182014.aspx

Overcharging and Deception at Auto Parts Store

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A New Jersey investigation found overcharging and misleading advertising at auto parts stores. The State said,  “The investigation, undertaken early last year, found that seven AutoZone stores in Newark, Carteret, Elizabeth, Linden, Flemington, and Plainfield, failed to plainly mark the total selling price on some merchandise.” http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/Pages/03292016.aspx.  A consent order was later executed.  www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/News/PressAttachments/03292016_AutoZone_att.pdf

The Division of Consumer Affairs said, “AutoZone is the largest of five New Jersey automotive parts retailers to settle allegations of pricing violations in the past year… that the automotive parts retailers also failed to plainly mark the total selling price on merchandise offered for sale in their stores State.”

Our office is evaluating legal action including possible class action involving these claims.

FREE CONSULTATION, CALL (973) 598-1980, or email HowardGutman@aol.com

Used Computer & Cellphone Trade-in-Deception

An FTC enforcement action accused a company of bait and switch when consumers sought to trade-in smartphones, laptops, or tablets.  According to the FTC enforcement action,

“To get an “instant quote,” consumers went to sites like cashforiphones.com, cashforlaptops.com, sell-your-cell.com, and smartphonetraders.com, entered the make and model of their device, and completed a short checklist about the condition. According to the complaint, the defendants represented that consumers would get the amount of the instant quote. The defendants claimed, “Customers can expect to receive the exact amount we quote in the shortest time possible,” consumers will “[r]eceive the cash promised in your quote,” and Laptop & Desktop Repair “will pay you as soon as we confirm the condition of your [device] and payout amount.

They made it look this easy:

So consumers popped their gear in the mail and waited for the defendants to make good on their offer. But once the company had consumers’ equipment in hand, they dropped their buyback price to as little as pennies on the dollar – sometimes just 3%-10% of the original quote.

And the questionable practices didn’t end there. Consumers typically had only a few days to accept or reject the cut-rate offer, and the FTC and Georgia say the defendants didn’t make it easy to cancel. According to the complaint, the company ignored email requests, hung up on consumers or kept them on hold, and often didn’t return their devices.”

FREE CONSULTATION ON DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES CALL 973 598-1980

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