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Press Releases

BROOKLYN CAR DEALERSHIP PAYS $45,000 TO SETTLE
CHARGES OF DECEPTIVE AND MISLEADING ADS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 17, 2004

DCA Continues Monitoring Dealerships Citywide; Legal Action Improves Compliance

The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) today announced its latest agreement in which Kings Plaza Jeep Chrysler Inc. d/b/a Kings Plaza Jeep Chrysler, (2286 Flatbush Avenue, Brooklyn) paid a total of $45,000 to settle charges of deceptive and misleading advertisements. The agreement is part of the DCA’s ongoing efforts to crackdown on deceptive advertisements that lure consumers purchasing both new and used cars. Over the past year, the DCA cited 20 auto dealerships citywide and established agreements totaling more than $360,000, with $64,000 from Brooklyn dealerships.

“Car sales are one of our top complaints, with many consumers getting duped by hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars in extra fees. This latest agreement is just one more reason for dealers to take notice,” said DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra.

Kings Plaza Jeep Chrysler was charged with numerous violations of the City’s Consumer Protection Law including: basing advertised prices on required financing through the dealer; engaging in deceptive trade practice by stating credit terms as "daily" when daily payments are not available; misrepresenting prices and actual cost (i.e. advertised costs were based on restricted rebates that very few qualify for); and misrepresenting credit claims (i.e. advertising bold headlines such as “$19 DOWN & $4 PER DAY," and “INSTANT CREDIT! BAD CREDIT NO CREDIT BANKRUPTCY REPOSESSION NO PROBLEM! WANTED - GOOD PEOPLE WITH BAD CREDIT!”) suggesting that all applicants will be approved while omitting the credit terms or criteria used to determine if qualified for a loan.

“An advertisement is the first place shoppers can go to compare prices, and consumers need to be able to make decisions based on truthful information. DCA’s vigilance over the last year has improved compliance in car ads, but our work is not done. We are constantly scouring local ads and will continue to take aggressive action against dealers who don’t follow the law,” Commissioner Dykstra added.

Other dealerships that have settled similar charges over the past year include Bronx Hyundai (4353 Bronx Blvd.), Bronx Automobile Group, Inc., (2 locations - 3305 and 3329 Boston Rd.) and H.B. Automotive Group, Inc. d/b/a Kia of the Bronx (3350 Boston Post Rd.) Star Nissan, Inc. (Bayside), Star Mitsubishi (Queens Village), Star Toyota of Bayside, Metro Chrysler Plymouth, Inc. (Queens Village), Cox Nissan, Inc. (2 locations: 1235 E. Tremont Ave. and 3700 Boston Rd., Bronx); Northern Boulevard Dodge Inc. (2 locations: 209-01 Northern Blvd. and 209-35 Northern Blvd., Bayside); Kia of Bayside (211-08 Northern Blvd., Bayside); Bayside Chrysler Plymouth / Jeep Eagle, Inc. (212-19 Northern Blvd., Bayside); and Hyundai of Manhattan (646 Eleventh Avenue, Manhattan).

DCA enforces the City’s Consumer Protection Law and other related laws at thousands of businesses throughout New York City. Fostering a marketplace where consumers are protected and businesses can thrive, DCA licenses more than 60,000 businesses in 55 different categories citywide.

To file a complaint or for copies of the DCA’s Guide to Used Car Purchases or DCA’s Advertising Guide, call 311 or visit the Department of Consumer Affairs’ web site at www.nyc.gov/consumers.

Tips:

  • Watch out for footnotes and asteriks (“*”). The fine print in an advertisement sometimes changes an offer made in the large print.
  • Beware advertised prices based on financing. Many are so restrictive that most average consumers don’t qualify.
  • Shop around for best financing option. Consumers that wish to finance may be able to obtain better options from financial institutions besides the dealer they are purchasing from.
  • Photos and illustrations should match the products being advertised.
  • Prices quoted in an ad must match the actual purchase price.
  • Beware of ads using phrases like “as low as,” “starting at,” or “…and up” next to the listed price.