News from the New York Attorney General’s Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 15, 2018
Attorney General’s Office Press Office / 212-416-8060
A.G. UNDERWOOD ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH QUEENS AUTO DEALER OVER DECEPTIVE PRACTICES
Following AG Investigation Into Unwanted Charges, Fraudulent Sales Tactics, and Other Deceptive Practices, Nemet Dealerships to Reform Practices and Pay Over $164,000 in Restitution and Penalties
AG Underwood Urges Affected New Yorkers to File for Refund Before July 30 Deadline
QUEENS – Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood today announced a settlement resolving an investigation of Nemet Hyundai, Nemet Kia, Nemet Nissan, and Nemet Motors, a family of auto dealers located in Queens. The Office of the Attorney General opened an investigation of the dealerships after receiving dozens of complaints from consumers about unwanted charges, fraudulent sales tactics, and other deceptive maneuvers that misled New Yorkers about the products for which they were paying.
In the settlement, the Attorney General obtained restitution for New Yorkers harmed by the dealerships’ fraudulent business practices, a requirement that the dealerships stop any illegal and deceptive activity, and civil penalties for the alleged deceptive acts. Under the terms of the settlement, affected New Yorkers have until July 30th, 2018 to file a complaint in order to be eligible for a refund. Consumers can file through the Attorney General’s office, either online or by calling 1-800-771-7755.
“We have zero tolerance for those who seek to defraud New York consumers,” said Attorney General Underwood. “This settlement ensures impacted consumers will get the restitution they deserve and put an end to the dealerships’ deceptive practices.”
For example, Shauntel Wilson of Kings County bought a car from Nemet after a manager promised to refinance her loan in six months, dropping her monthly payments from an unaffordable $781 to $548. Wilson complained when Nemet failed to deliver the promised refinancing and the Attorney General found that Nemet had secured Wilson’s unaffordable loan by inflating her income on a credit application by nearly $15,000 per year. On top of that, Nemet slipped $2,600 worth of undisclosed aftermarket products into her contract.
The Attorney General alleges that the dealerships engaged in number of deceptive practices, such as:
- adding unwanted aftermarket items into consumers’ contracts without disclosing the items or their costs to consumers, without obtaining the consumers’ consent, or by misrepresenting that the items were required by lenders;
- preventing consumers from having an adequate opportunity to review their contracts by making them wait for inordinate periods of time, then rushing them through signing their contracts;
- misrepresenting their willingness and ability to refinance consumers’ loans by making fraudulent promises to refinance the loans at specific future dates for particular interest rates; and
- submitting falsified credit applications with inflated income information for applicants, ultimately obtaining loans the consumer were unable to pay.
Under the settlement, the Nemet dealerships will refund $108,231 to 22 known consumers. In addition to restitution, the dealerships will also pay $56,250 in penalties to New York State. The dealerships’ management has agreed to modify their employee training and to hire an outside monitor for at least three years to ensure compliance with the settlement terms.
Attorney General Underwood encourages any consumers who believe they were deceptively sold unwanted aftermarket items or offered false promises to refinance transactions by Nemet dealerships to file complaints online or call 1-800-771-7755 before the July 30th, 2018 filing deadline.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew S. Eubank handled the investigation and settlement with the assistance of former Volunteer Assistant Attorney General Anita Armstrong, under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General in Charge of the Brooklyn Regional Office Michael Barbosa, and Deputy Bureau Chief Laura Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia, both of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau. Martin J. Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs, oversees the Regional Offices.