North Jersey Auto Mall, a car dealership located on Market Street, has agreed to pay $66,000 in settlement and fees for scamming used car buyers, according the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.
Lencore Leasing, the parent company of the dealership, was sued in May 2012 by division because the “dealership misrepresented the condition of the vehicles it offered for sale and failed to disclose damage to and prior use of the vehicles,” according to a statement from the division.
Lenny Belot, the individual who operated the dealership was named in the lawsuit as well. Under the settlement Belot and his company must pay for costs relating to the investigation and undo some of the damage done to customers by peddling damaged cars. “Under the terms of the settlement, defendants will pay $29,000 in civil penalties, in addition to $37,000 in reimbursement of the State’s attorneys’ fees and investigative costs,” according to the division.
“An additional $50,000 in civil penalties is suspended, but will become immediately payable if the defendants fail to comply with the settlement terms within the next year,” read a statement from the division. Belot has agreed to abide by the established laws on selling used cars, like disclosing the condition of the vehicles to potential buyers.
“Hiding or not disclosing vehicle damage violates our consumer protection laws and we will hold dealers accountable for such deception,” said Eric Kanefsky, director of the division. “Those who think they can profit by doing superficial things like patching body panel holes and painting over rust to dupe consumers will find out how wrong they are.”
Customers, who were scammed by Belot and his company, filed numerous complaints with the Passaic County Office of Consumer Affairs, which eventually forwarded them to state investigators, leading to the settlement.