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April 7, 11

NEWS / Brad Benson Dealership to Pay $65,000 to Settle Division of Consumer Affairs Investigation

NEWARK – Edison Motor Cars, Inc., which does business as Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi, has agreed to pay $65,000 and to abide by state laws and regulations in its advertisement and sale of used motor vehicles, under terms of a Consent Order that resolves an investigation conducted by the State Division of Consumer Affairs.

Consumers who filed complaints with the Division alleged that the dealership, located in South Brunswick, failed to pay off trade-in vehicles in a timely manner and failed to disclose prior use and/or prior damage to used vehicles offered for sale by the dealership.

“Consumers need to know all relevant information about a vehicle, before signing a sales contract. The dealership is required to disclose these facts, as we’ve reiterated in the terms of this settlement,” Attorney General Paula T. Dow said.

All existing consumer complaints have been resolved by the dealership. For the next year, all consumer complaints received by the Division will be forwarded to Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi for resolution. If the dealership and consumer cannot resolve a complaint, the Consent Order requires the matter to go to binding arbitration before the Division’s Alternative Dispute Resolution unit.

Under the terms of the Consent Order, Brad Benson Hyundai/Mitsubishi will pay off any loan remaining on a trade-in vehicle within 30 days of taking possession and will use Carfax or a similar service to discern the prior use and/or prior damage of any used vehicle offered for sale and will provide that information to the consumer prior to purchase.

The Consent Order also requires that any advertisement for sale of a used vehicle, including internet listings, include the Buyers Statement required by the Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations.

“You can kick the tires, open the hood, check the body for rust but, unless you are told, you can never see that the car or truck you want to buy was used as a rental vehicle or damaged in a crash and repaired. Consumers must be told about past use and prior damage, as our Consent Order states,” said Thomas R. Calcagni, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs.

Auto-related complaints were the single largest category of complaints received from consumers last year. Approximately 1,800 of the 14,000 consumer complaints filed with the Division of Consumer Affairs in 2010 dealt with automotive issues.

Deputy Attorneys General Cathleen O’Donnell and Alina Wells of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section represented the state in this settlement. Investigator Murat Botas in the Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation.




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