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Suzane Russel | Wochit

WOODBRIDGE –  An automobile dealership in the Avenel section of the township has agreed to pay $136,000 and change the way it does business in order to resolve the Division of Consumer Affair’s consumer fraud investigation of the dealership’s advertising, sales and leasing practices, state Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Consumer Affairs said in a statement Friday. 

Sansone Hyundai Inc. on Route 1 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, the statement said..

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“Consumers should be able to purchase a new car without having to worry about misinformation and hidden costs,” Porrino said. “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,” Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs Steve Lee said. “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, according to the statement. 

A call to the dealership for comment was not returned. 

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 njconsumeraffairs.gov or calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

Staff Writer Susan Loyer: 732-565-7243; sloyer@gannettnj.com

 

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