A New York car dealership has been ordered to pay a $500,000 civil penalty and $304,900 to consumers who were wronged by its deceptive selling practices.
The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) charged Brooklyn Mitsubishi and Brooklyn Volkswagen with more than 7,000 violations in November last year. The department asserted that the dealership used deceptive advertising practices to lure customers to showrooms before illegally selling them vehicles above the advertised prices.
In addition, the dealership advertised “expired” prices, “no dealer fees,” and claimed “the price you see is the price you pay,” but failed to honor these assertions. The dealer was also accused of deceptive trade practices, selling recalled used vehicles without providing NHTSA information, submitting false, misleading and deceptive credit applications, and operating a used-vehicle dealership without a license, among other charges.
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In one case, Karinie Olivero saw a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee advertised for $27,994 on CarGurus. She visited the dealership and put down $10,000 to purchase the SUV. The dealership then rushed her through documents and ultimately charged her $36,585, claiming that her credit meant she was not eligible for the advertised price.
A total of 36 consumers have been confirmed to receive $154,900 in total restitution with the remaining $150,000 to be spread among new consumers who come forward with complaints.
“We’re not going to allow anyone to pick New Yorkers’ pockets on the street or in a used car lot,” New York City Mayor Eric Adams said at an event about the settlement. “This settlement is about protecting New Yorkers and sending a clear message: If you break the law and harm consumers, we will hold you accountable. We are helping deliver more than $300,000 back into the pockets of New York City consumers who were ripped off by Brooklyn Mitsubishi and Brooklyn Volkswagen and are stopping their unlawful behavior dead in their tracks. New Yorkers can trust that our administration will fight to protect every consumer, especially when their making big purchases like a car.”