N.J. car dealership agrees to change its practices

Spencer Ham Apr. 7, 2011, 3:28pm


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - A N.J. car dealership has agreed to a consent order that requires it to abide by state laws and regulations in its advertisement and sale of used motor vehicles, New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced on Thursday.

Edison Motor Cars Inc., doing business as Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi, also agreed to pay $65,000 under terms of the consent order, which resolves a State Division of Consumer Affairs check on the company's business conduct.

Consumers complaints filed with the division allege that the dealership, located in South Brunswick, N.J., failed to pay off trade-in vehicles in a timely manner and failed to disclose prior use and/or prior damage to used vehicles that it offered for sale.

"Consumers need to know all relevant information about a vehicle, before signing a sales contract," Dow said. "The dealership is required to disclose these facts, as we've reiterated in the terms of this settlement."

The dealership has resolved all existing consumer complaints and, for the next year, all consumer complaints that the Division of Consumer Affairs receives about Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi will be forwarded to the dealership for resolution. If complaints cannot be resolved, they will go to binding arbitration before the division's Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit.

Additionally, Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi will pay off any loan remaining on a trade-in vehicle within 30 days of taking possession. The company also agreed to use Carfax or a similar service to discern prior use or prior damage to any vehicle it offers for sale. That information will be provided to consumers prior to purchase.

Under terms of the consent order, any advertisement of a used vehicle, including internet listings, must also include the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations' Buyers Statement.

"You can kick the tires, open the hood, check the body for rust but, unless you are told, you can never see that the car or truck you want to buy was used as a rental vehicle or damaged in a crash and repaired," Thomas Calcagni, acting director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, said. "Consumers must be told about past use and prior damage, as our Consent Order states."

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