NJ Sues Luxury Car Dealer Over Bait-and-Switch Scam
A luxury car dealership in Springfield is being sued by the state in an alleged bait-and-switch scam after 84 complaints were filed with the New Jersey’s Attorney General and the state Division of Consumer Affairs.
According to the Attorney General's Office, the suit against 21st Century Auto Group Inc. alleges bait-and-switch and other deceptive practices.
Consumers complained that the company exploited them through several illegal and deceptive tactics including: bait-and-switch; refusing to honor the advertised or agreed-upon prices for vehicles; refusing to return deposits after consumers had canceled their sales transactions; refusing to issue warranties or to honor warranties that had been issued; requiring consumers to sign blank sale documents and refusing to provide sale documents after consumers signed them.
“Our investigation uncovered a pattern of allegedly deceptive practices that dates back several years and that cost individual consumers hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars, with no regard for their rights or for the law,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman said in a press release. “This type of conduct harms consumers and tarnishes the reputation of an entire industry. Our primary goal is to obtain full restitution for the customers allegedly abused by these tactics.”
The dealership also failed to provide consumers with title and registration to used vehicles before they expired, according to the lawsuit. The suit also claims that on one occasion, the dealership sold a used vehicle without obtaining a lien release from the prior owner.
Others claim they were drawn to 21st Century by online ads promising specific vehicles at specific, attractive prices. When they went to the dealership, however, employees told them the vehicles they wanted had been sold and instead tried to sell them higher-priced cars.