More Than 200 Complaints Received About Dealers, DCA Says

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Department of Consumer Affairs has charged nine car dealerships in Brooklyn and Queens for allegedly using illegal sales tactics to deceive and pressure consumers to pay more than what was advertised.

Authorities received more than 200 complaints about Planet Automotive, Inc., Northern Auto Traders, LLC, Auto Palace, Inc. and from six of Giuffre Motor Car Co. LLC’s locations, the DCA said.

The complaints were about deceptive practices that included forcing customers to pay additional fees and buy unnecessary add-ons, the DCA said.

“People were finding that they were being told that the price was higher, told that the price was only available if they also financed it, which of course means it is much more expensive, and told they could only finance it with the dealer which is illegal,” Commissioner Jonathan Mintz told 1010 WINS.

Mintz said there is a difference between high pressure and illegal sales.

“There is a difference between saying ‘we’d like you to buy this more expensive car’ and instead saying ‘you thought the price was $5,800 because that’s what you read in ad but it’s really $6,200’ or ‘we won’t accept cash, we’ll only give you that price if you finance with us,'” Mintz said. “Those kinds of practices are not high pressure, they’re illegal deception.”

The DCA is seeking to collect more than $950,000 in consumer restitution and fines from the nine dealerships. It is also looking to have their licenses revoked.

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