NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow announced Friday that four auto dealerships will pay $175,000 to resolve allegations that they violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act and Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations.
The four dealerships are Fords National Auto Mart, Inc., doing business as Sansone Ford Lincoln Mercury in Ocean Township; Paladin Chevrolet, doing business as Sansone Chevrolet in Avenel; Sansone Plaza Dodge, Inc., doing business as Sansone Dodge in Ocean Township; and Sansone Management Corp., doing business as Sansone's Route 1 Auto Mall in Avenel.
The lawsuit alleges that the four dealerships failed to disclose prior damage on their vehicles to consumers and misrepresented the posted prices, failing to include licensing costs, registration fees and taxes.
"Our laws and regulations require disclosure of material facts to consumers prior to their purchase of a motor vehicle," Dow said. "We expect full compliance, so consumers can make informed decisions before spending their hard-earned money."
In agreeing to the settlement, the dealerships did not admit to liability or any wrongdoing. U
nder terms of the settlement, the dealerships have all agreed to revise their business practices, including no longer engaging in any deceptive acts or practices and complying with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules and regulations from now on.
The dealerships must also disclose all information about vehicles prior to their sale or lease, disclose any and all information about any accidents that their vehicles have been involved in and provide a complete and accurate history of every vehicle. Also, all advertisements must be accurate and include the statement that "price(s) include(s) all costs to be paid by consumer, except for licensing costs, registration fees, and taxes."
The $175,000 payment required under the Consent Judgment includes $83,232.58 in civil penalties and $91,767.42 in reimbursements to the State for its attorneys' fees and investigative costs.
The four dealerships would face an additional maximum $200,000 in civil penalties if the terms of the consent judgment are violated within the next year.