N.J. AG obtains TRO against auto dealer

Bryan Cohen May 17, 2012, 7:18am


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa and the Division of Consumer Affairs announced an order on Tuesday against a Paterson-based used car dealership that allegedly violated the Consumer Fraud Act.

Superior Court Judge Mary Margaret McVeigh granted a request to stop Lencore Leasing Inc. from advertising and selling used vehicles without disclosing prior use and/or prior damage pending a hearing on the state's request for preliminary injunctive and other relief. Chiesa and the DCA filed a five-count complaint against Lencore, which also does business as DCH Motors and North Jersey Auto Mall, and Lenny Belot, the dealership's owner and operator.

The order requires the defendants to disclose damage to and prior use of the vehicles it offers for sale. McVeigh also granted a request from the state that a temporary monitor be appointed for the dealership.

The defendants allegedly violated the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, Used Car Lemon Law and Consumer Fraud Act in their advertisement, offering for sale and sale of used vehicles.

"Used cars are not inexpensive," Chiesa said. "Consumers who are spending thousands of dollars for a used vehicle are legally entitled to be told if the vehicle has sustained prior damage or if it's been used as a fleet or rental vehicle."

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants offered 51 used vehicles for sale that had a cumulative value of undisclosed damage worth $213,758. In some instances, consumers were allegedly told that the vehicles were in pristine and mint condition inside and out when that was not the case.

The defendants allegedly created online advertisements that failed to include the required disclosures of prior damage and prior use, violated the Used Car Lemon Law by failing to disclose existing mechanical defects in the vehicles prior to sale, misrepresented that vehicles were under a warranty when they actually were not, failed to respond to consumer requests for reimbursements or refunds for repairs consumers had to pay for, failed to include promised equipment like floor mats and navigation systems in the purchased vehicles, and failed to disclose that the sales price did not include taxes, registration fees and licensing.

The DCA received 14 consumer complaints about the defendants, including one from the Better Business Bureau and three from the Passaic County consumer affairs office.

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