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Lodi Used Car Dealer Conned Customers, NJ Authorities Charge

European Auto Expo on Route 46 in Lodi.
European Auto Expo on Route 46 in Lodi. Photo Credit: European Auto Expo

LODI, N.J. -- State authorities this week sued a Lodi-based used car dealership that they said failed to honor advertised prices, left out disclaimers and "obscured pricing details with misleading fine print."

An eight-count complaint filed in Hackensack by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs accuses European Auto Expo of violating the state's Consumer Fraud Act and lemon law, as well as advertising and sale regulations, among other charges.

The complaint seeks consumer restitution, reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and costs and civil penalties for each violation of the statutes and/or regulations, Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy said Wednesday morning.

“This action reflects our continued commitment to enforcing the laws in place to protect consumers as they navigate the often-stressful process of purchasing a used motor vehicle,” Lougy said. “Unscrupulous dealers who use bait and switch advertising tactics or otherwise defraud consumers will be held accountable.”

The complaint accuses European Auto Expo of several other deceptive business practices, including:

• Selling a consumer a used motor vehicle without disclosing that the odometer had been rolled back more than 60,000 miles;

• Failing to disclose accident damage or other mechanical problems to consumers before purchase of used motor vehicles;

• Requiring consumers to finance used vehicles by retail installment contracts, or purchase aftermarket service contracts, in order to get the vehicle at its advertised price;

• Selling used motor vehicles without providing the required statutory written warranties;

• Offering used motor vehicles for sale at the dealership location that did not have prominently displayed the Federal Trade Commission Used Car Buyers Guide;

• Charging fees for documentary services without itemizing the price for each actual documentary service performed; and

• Requiring consumers to sign blank sales documents.

Investigator Kelly Fennell in the DCA's Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation. Deputy Attorney General Russell M. Smith, Jr. is representing the state.

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