Bay Ridge Nissan of Brooklyn NY has agreed to pay 100k in restitution to victims of deceptive advertising. After receiving numerous consumer complaints, the the Attorney General's office conducted an investigation and found that the dealership engaged in numerous illegal activities such as: falsely advertising deals for people who lost their cars in Hurricane Sandy, bogus ads on Craigslist, and lying about insurance policies.
Car-buyers reported that the dealership duped them with classic "bait and switch" tactics on the buyer's contract-
"First, they provided a price of $23k + tax for a new car which we think is a pretty good deal. The total price including tax and fees should not be more than $26k, but it ends up at $38k," she said in a review submitted in September 2013. "When we realized the price is so high and wanted to cancel it, they refused and claimed that we signed the contract already, and we had to buy. I research online and somebody said it can be canceled if we didn't get the car. But the dealer insisted that we cannot cancel it."
Vincent Santangelo was looking to buy a used 2011 Nissan Rogue for his daughter, Ashley. He agreed to pay $5,000 down payment towards a $17,500 used 2011 Nissan Rogue. He later discovered that the $5,000 was merely added onto the car's final price.
Bay Ridge is now required to pay $48,341 in restitution and $50,000 as a civil penalty to the state. The Attorney General's Office issued this statement-
"This agreement is a victory for consumers in Brooklyn and around the state. We'll continue to aggressively monitor the business practices of dealerships in New York to ensure they comply with laws designed to keep the auto market honest, and maintain a level playing field for consumers. Anyone buying a car should be able to expect that when they negotiate prices and terms for vehicles, the contracts will accurately reflect those terms."
Car-buying is changing, many dealerships are adapting to savvy shoppers but there are still plenty of these "stealerships" out there. I recommend that buyer's read online reviews about a dealerships customer service and always look at your contract closely before signing.