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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

N.J. AG says investigation into wheelchair-accessible minivans 'potentially saved lives'

By Bryan Cohen | Jan 31, 2014


NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced a settlement on Wednesday with a Kansas-based company that modifies minivans for wheelchair accessibility to resolve allegations of potential safety defects.

ElDorado National (Kansas) Inc. modifies minivans to make them wheelchair accessible. ElDorado-modified minivans allegedly contained potential fire and explosion hazards, including six modified Toyota Siena minivans in New Jersey. There were allegedly a total of 82 minivans affected by the defect nationwide.

In response to the inquiry by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, ElDorado issued a nationwide recall of all affected Toyota Siena minivans it modified and corrected the defects at no cost to consumers. ElDorado said it changed the way it modifies Toyota Siena minivans to prevent similar defects.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the defects.

"Our investigation and swift action potentially saved lives, plain and simple," Hoffman said. "I am very proud of the Division of Consumer Affairs investigators who acted with alacrity to help this consumer, found a potentially deadly problem, and worked with the company to get these vehicles off the roads in New Jersey and across America."

Under the terms of the settlement, ElDorado agreed to pay $10,000 to reimburse the state for attorney fees and court costs, provide consumers with clear and prominent notification about the weight limits of its wheelchair-modified vehicles and the dangers of exceeding those limits and develop reporting requirements for its dealerships when they receive consumer complaints.

ElDorado voluntarily and fully cooperated with Hoffman's office and provided information to aid in the inquiry.

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