Business & Finance

Press Releases

New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Obtains $1.8 Million Settlement to Resolve Allegations of Deceptive Practices Against Eight "Route 22" and Affiliated Car Dealerships

de6ffb0617f10469a3b7_tapstockphotobreakingnewsv2.jpg
de6ffb0617f10469a3b7_tapstockphotobreakingnewsv2.jpg

NEWARK – The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, represented by the Division of Law, has obtained a settlement of $1.8 million, plus consumer restitution, from eight auto dealerships and their owners, Carmelo Giuffre, of Brooklyn, New York, and Ignazio Guiffre, of Colts Neck, New York.  The settlement resolves a State investigation into alleged deceptive sales tactics such as failing to disclose existing mechanical defects or past damage to used cars; charging for supplemental warranties and other costly “after-sale items” without customers’ consent; and failing to honor the negotiated or advertised prices for vehicles.

The settlement includes Route 22 Auto Sales Inc., d/b/a “Route 22 Toyota,” Route 22 Automobiles Inc, d/b/a “Route 22 Honda,” Route 22 Nissan Inc. d/b/a “Route 22 Nissan,” Hillside Automotive Inc. d/b/a “Route 22 Kia,” and Hackettstown Auto Sales, Inc d/b/a “Hackettstown Honda,” all located in Hillside; Hudson Auto Sales Inc. d/b/a Hudson Honda, in West New York; and Freehold Automotive LTD, Inc. d/b/a “Freehold Hyundai” and Freehold Chrysler Jeep, Inc d/b/a “Freehold Chrysler Jeep.”  All eight dealerships are owned by Carmelo and Ignazio Giuffre.

“This settlement is a tremendous success for the consumers who were affected by the alleged deceptive sales tactics,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.  “The consequences, including a civil penalty of $1.8 million, are particularly appropriate in light of the fact that the owners of these dealerships violated an earlier settlement in which they had promised not to engage in such practices.”

Sign Up for E-News

The State alleged that actions taken by the dealerships directly violated a prior settlement that Carmelo and Igazio Giuffre, and certain of the dealerships, reached with the State in 1999, after the State received very similar consumer complaints about deceptive practices by the dealerships.

The Division of Consumer Affairs received complaints from numerous consumers who documented a host of allegations against these dealerships.  In addition to the bait-and-switch tactics and add-on sales without consent, consumers alleged that the dealerships failed to refund deposits in a timely manner after consumers either canceled the sales or were denied financing; advertised cars without including required information such as vehicle identification numbers, thus preventing consumers from being able to check the vehicle’s history of damage and use; and failed to provide consumers with motor vehicle titles and registrations in a timely manner.

“Buying a new or used vehicle can be an intimidating process, especially for consumers who lack the ability to independently learn about a used car’s condition or history before making a decision,” Division of Consumer Affairs Acting Director Steve Lee said.  “Our State laws protect all consumers by ensuring they have access to all relevant information when buying a motor vehicle.  This settlement is intended to ensure that these dealerships will not again violate our laws or deceive potential customers.”

In February 1999, Carmelo and Ignazio Giuffre, as well as Route 22 Toyota, Route 22 Honda, and Route 22 Nissan entered into a settlement in which the defendants agreed to pay $450,000, including $250,000 as a compensatory fund for consumers, resulting from similar complaints by consumers.

The new settlement, announced today, requires a payment of $1.8 million which includes $1,733,059 in civil penalties and $66,941 to reimburse the State’s investigative costs and attorneys’ fees.

In addition to that payment, the defendants must work to resolve the complaints of 45 consumers who documented their allegations with the Division of Consumer Affairs.  The defendants shall provide restitution or, if they dispute a consumer’s complaint and requested relief, shall notify the Division, which will refer the matter to its Alternative Dispute Resolution Unit for binding arbitration.

Additionally, under the settlement, the defendants must, at their own cost, hire a State-approved compliance monitor for two years. The monitor will oversee the defendants’ compliance with all applicable State and federal laws, rules, and regulations, and with the defendants’ own internal policies and procedures; will review the defendants’ policies and procedures and make any recommended changes; will facilitate the resolution of additional consumer complaints; and will provide written quarterly reports to the Division of Consumer Affairs.

Investigator Kelly Fennell, of the Office of Consumer Protection within the Division of Consumer Affairs, conducted this investigation.

Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar, of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section in the Division of Law, represented the State in this action.

Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file a complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504-6200.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

WFP Tax Partners Walks You Through 4 Step Tax Return Process

February 22, 2018

Over 80% of Tax Returns Have Errors or Missed Deductions. You're Probably Paying More Than Your Fair Share in Taxes

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - Tax returns certainly give a clear picture of the past year, but WFP Tax Partners believes it's wise to strategize for the current year to have a plan for moving forward. 

At your tax appointment, they ...

Reminder: Free Wellness Program for Union County Military Women

All Union County women with military service – veterans, active duty and reserve – are invited to join “Boots 2 Heels,” a free event designed to foster wellness and connect women with resources and guidance for empowerment. Boots 2 Heels will be held on Saturday, February 24 at the Westfield Armory, located at 500 Rahway Avenue in Westfield.

The event is free but ...

CSA's 5th Annual Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Set for Sunday

Is everyone ready to come together as a community and break bread to support the CSA? It's time for The Community Service Association of New Providence's 5th Annual Pasta & Meatball Dinner! This fun, family-friendly event will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25, at the DeCorso Community Center, 15 East Fourth Street, New Providence. Pasta, meatballs, and dessert will be served from 3-7 ...

Caregiver Conference Sunday, Feb. 25, Focuses on Caregiver's Needs

 

Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, (JFSCNJ) a non-sectarian health and social service agency, will be hosting a Caregiver Conference called, “Caring for a Loved One While Being Mindful of Your Own Needs,” from 10 a.m. to noon, Sunday, Feb. 25, at the Jewish Family Service of Central NJ, Halpern Building, 655 Westfield Ave. Elizabeth.  

 The Conference, ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...

We Need More Women Like Colleen Mahr in Municipal, County and State Government

Dear Editor:

I’m proud to support Colleen Mahr for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee  (UCDC) and am encouraging my Scotch Plains peers to join me.

I was a first time candidate wanting to make a difference in my hometown of Scotch Plains, when Mayor Mahr of neighboring Fanwood stepped in to help me campaign and win my election to be Councilwoman three years ago.

Democratic Party Would Be Making a Big Mistake by Not Recognizing Colleen Mahr's Talents

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a valuable friend to the Township of Cranford. Whether it’s offering advice and assistance during devastating flood cleanup, supporting the Mayor's Council on the Rahway River, or her insight and assistance in meeting our affordable housing obligations, Mayor Mahr is always there for Cranford.

Colleen’s fairness and integrity is ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, February 23

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Carousel_image_b59229b3972266545812_magnet_fundraising_auction_2018_flyer_0219

Fri, February 23, 6:30 PM

Union County Vocational Technical Schools, West Hall Cafeteria, Scotch Plains

Union County Magnet High School Silent Auction

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 10:00 AM

Municipal Court Room/Council Chambers, BERKELEY HEIGHTS

Return Berkeley Heights Public Library's Books, ...

Other

Carousel_image_ebabe6d4e0eb6af7bda2_https---cdn.evbuc.com-images-40285364-230483587926-1-original

Sat, February 24, 3:00 PM

White Tiger Dojo, Berkeley Heights

White Tiger Dojo Hosts Trauma Response Seminar: ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Now That The Dust Has Settled…Smart Tax Moves In 2018

Now that the dust has settled, here are some smart tax moves to lower your taxes and/or avoid higher taxes/penalties in 2018. These steps may be especially helpful if you live in high property and high income tax states (e.g. New Jersey, New York, California) since state and local tax deductions are capped.  Unfortunately all these changes mean you’ll need more time and energy to ...

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...