A Burlington County used car dealership has agreed to resolve consumer complaints and pay more than $58,000 in penalties, according to Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Royal Auto Group Inc. will change its practices, pay a settlement of $55,000 in civil penalties, $3,700 in investigative costs, and enter binding arbitration with consumers who say the dealership refused to honor advertised prices of vehicles, failed to disclose known vehicle history, and cancelled warranties without notifying customers or issuing refunds.
Royal allegedly committed multiple violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, the Automotive Sales Practices Regulations, the Used Car Lemon Law, and the Used Car Lemon Law Regulations, according to the consent order that settles the Division’s investigation.
“New Jersey consumers expect and deserve honesty and transparency as they navigate the sometimes-stressful process of purchasing a used motor vehicle,” Grewal said in a statement. “This settlement sends a message to dealerships that they cannot get away with deceiving consumers for profit.”
Royal agreed to not engage in unfair or deceptive business practices; to maintain documentation of all advertisements of cars sold or leased to consumers for 180 days from the date of lease or sale; to disclose prior vehicle damage, grey market history and/or rental history; to include required language and itemized costs to be paid by the consumer except for licensing costs, registration fees, and taxes; and to ensure warranties sold to consumers are issued in the consumer’s name and to their vehicle, and to issue refunds if processing errors occur.
“Buying a used car should not be a guessing game,” said Kaitlin Caruso, deputy director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in a statement. “Consumers have a right to know the known history and full price of vehicles they are purchasing and that a warranty they purchase will be in full force if they ever need to file a claim.”
Royal will also enter binding arbitration to address pending consumer complaints, and any additional complaints received by the Division over the next two years that Royal doesn’t resolve will also be referred for binding arbitration.
A representative from Royal told NJBIZ via phone that he was unaware of the penalties, and that he has all customers get a Carfax report. He said the owner was unavailable for comment.