New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Reaches Settlement with Middlesex County Auto Dealership in Connection with Consumer Fraud Investigation
NEWARK – Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs today announced that a Middlesex County car dealership has agreed to pay $136,000 and change the way it does business in order to resolve the Division’s consumer fraud investigation of the dealership’s advertising, sales, and leasing practices.
Sansone Hyundai, Inc., located on US-1 in Avenel, entered into the settlement to end the Division’s investigation of its alleged activities, including 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.
“Consumers should be able to purchase a new car without having to worry about misinformation and hidden costs,” said Attorney General Porrino. “This settlement ensures that consumers will receive transparency and honesty from this dealership, as required by law.”
“Dealerships must fully disclose all costs and fees associated with the purchase or lease of a vehicle before consumers sign on the dotted line,” said Steve Lee, Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “We will continue to enforce the laws and regulations in place to ensure consumers have the facts they need to make informed decisions.”
In a Consent Order with the Division, Sansone Hyundai, among other things, agreed to:
- comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws, rules, and regulations, including the Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, the Automotive Sales Regulations, and the Consumer Leasing Act;
- not misrepresent the terms and conditions of any financing or lease plan;
- not add and charge for aftermarket merchandise, such as window etch or service contracts, without consumers’ knowledge and/or authorization;
- not represent to consumers that certain dealer-installed options and/or aftermarket merchandise are mandatory when, in fact, they are not;
- not sell consumers aftermarket merchandise that overlaps or provides similar benefits in part to merchandise the consumer has already purchased through the lease or sale transaction;
- accurately reflect in leases the “gross capitalized cost” as required by the consumer leasing act;
- provide consumers with an opportunity to review all leases and/or sales documents and/or aftermarket contracts prior to signing; and
- not identify the advertised prices of a motor vehicle by reference to the MSRP sticker, when the motor vehicle includes an addendum to the MSRP sticker that reflects a higher total price.
Sansone Hyundai also agreed to make a $136,250 settlement payment to the State.
Investigator Patrick Mullan, of the Division of Consumer Affairs' Office of Consumer Protection, conducted this investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Cathleen O’Donnell from the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section within the Division of Law represented the State in this matter.
Consumers who believe they were deceived or misled in doing business with a car dealership can file an
online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website at
njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.