PARAMUS — An Indian national has filed a $1.26 million federal lawsuit against a Bergen County luxury car dealership, claiming that the manager refused to sell him a vehicle for fear that he might export it to the Taliban.

According to, Surjeet Bassi, 50, of Wallkill, New York, said he went to Prestinge Motors Inc. in Paramus on June 3 to trade in his older Mercedes-Benz for a newer, GLS550 Mercedes-Benz SUV. He passed a credit check and had his insurance company add the new vehicle to the policy, quoted him saying. At that point, the manager informed him that he couldn't sell him the car, Bassi reportedly said.

In the lawsuit, Bassi said he was told by the manager that the business couldn't sell him the new car because he came from a "high-risk area" in India, where people buy and export cars to the Taliban, the article states. Bassi, however, says in the lawsuit that he has lived in the area for 30 years and has no ties to the Taliban, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims the dealership's refusal to sell Bassi the car violates the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and also alleges "racial stereotyping, premised on plaintiff's race and appearance," according to NJ Advance Media.

Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.