Articles Posted in Dealership Litigation

Bergen County Verdict in a car sales case

$174,000 verdict for purchaser who did not get the title

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CONSUMER PROTECTION
11-4-9287 Mehrnia v. Emporio Motor Group LLC, Chanc. Div.-Bergen Cnty. (Toskos, J.S.C.) (24 pp.) This case evolved from a dispute between several parties over their rights to the ownership of a used 2010 Ferrari. The car was sold several times. Plaintiff Mehrdad Mehrnia claimed that he purchased the vehicle for a price of $201,000. Defendant Hitfigure LLC claimed ownership of the 2010 Ferrari through a subsequent purchase for a price of $155,000. The dispute arose from the relationship between defendants Dream Cars National LLC and Gotham Dream Cars LLC and defendant Manhattan Leasing Enterprises Ltd. Gotham and Manhattan also claimed an ownership interest in the vehicle. At a time when Gotham was experiencing financial difficulties, Manhattan restructured their leasing arrangement, which led to Manhattan obtaining possession of the title to the 2010 Ferrari. Mehrnia purchased the car from Emporio Motor Group LLC, which had obtained the Ferrari from Manhattan. The Ferrari was later sold to Hitfigure. Mehrnia filed this litigation seeking a declaratory judgment that he was the owner of the Ferrari. He also asserted a consumer fraud and conversion claim against Gotham and Manhattan. Finally, Mehrnia included a civil conspiracy claim as to Emporio, Gotham and Manhattan, alleging that they conspired to deprive Mehrnia of his property.

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The plaintiff, residing in Edison, New Jersey, says by way of complaint against the defendants as follows:
COUNT I
1. On or about September 28, 2013, the defendant, Auto Group, of East Brunswick, was a corporation licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey.
2. On or about that date, the defendant, MANUFACTURER, was also a corporation licensed to do business in the State of New Jersey.
3. On or about that date, the plaintiff acquired a used 2011 Acura MDX black, with 30,711 miles.
4. The vehicle was represented as a certified pre-owned vehicle and of higher quality than other certified pre-owned vehicles.
5. It was also specifically represented that the vehicle was not involved in any prior automobile accidents. The literature indicating that the vehicle was of higher quality and not in a prior automobile accident were both from the manufacturer and/or the selling dealer indicating that the vehicle was of higher quality than other used vehicles. The selling dealer specifically stated that the vehicle had not been in a prior automobile accident.
6. The plaintiff signed various documents including a retail installment sales contract and a buyer’s order to acquire the vehicle which the purchase price was $30,500.
7. As part of the transaction, the defendant dealership and/or the manufacturer issued a certified pre-owned warranty which the plaintiff paid a dollar amount for which is not disclosed in the appropriate paperwork. Continue Reading

National Insurance Crime Bureau or NICB, appears to be an organization, a not-for-profit organization, to assist various entities including law enforcement and insurance companies in preventing various types of insurance fraud. It also appears that they had created, maintain and utilize a database which obtains information from insurance companies among other sources. It appears through the website that there is a service and/or database which were created through National Insurance Brime Bureau that appears to store information on vehicles, stored through their vehicle identification numbers.

It also appears that there is something called VINCheck which is a service various entities can use to check the history of automobiles. One would assume that the reliability and the usefulness of this database depend upon the source of the information.

The NICB was formed in 1992 from a merger between the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB) and the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute (ICPI), both of which were not-for-profit organizations. The NATB — which managed vehicle theft investigations and developed vehicle theft databases for use by the insurance industry — dates to the early 20th century, while the ICPI investigated insurance fraud for approximately 20 years before joining with the NATB to form the present National Insurance Crime Bureau.

NICB’s VINCheck is a free service provided to the public to assist in determining if a vehicle has been reported as stolen, but not recovered, or has been reported as a salvage vehicle by cooperating NICB member insurance companies. To perform a search, a vehicle identification number (VIN) is required. A maximum of five searches can be conducted within a 24-hour period per IP address.

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Buying a Car is Awful Because… Tell me…

I have represented over a thousand people and have purchased many cars myself. Almost every experience related to me is the same. It sucked. The reasons are different BUT the results are the same. It sucked!! Take a look! Here too about the tricks.

I would describe it as follows:

The state has a significant amount of power through the Division of Consumer Affairs to protect the public interest and shut down deceptive businesses. If you go to the website, you will see a listing of investigations wherein they filed complaint alleging that various businesses engage in acts of fraud and consumer fraud with regard to the public.

As an example, on or about May 15, 2012, the Court issued temporary restraints against a Paterson used car dealership after the State Division of Consumer Affairs filed a suit. If you go to this website, you will see a listing of various actions taken by the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs including suing a North Jersey moving company for predatory and unconscionable business practices.

Paterson Car Dealership

Usually the agreement will permit the finance company or bank to take the vehicle by self-help repossession without any further definition. The Uniform Commercial Code also permits a secured party to take a piece of collateral or the vehicle by self-help repossession. Again, self-help repossession is not specifically defined; however, it must be deemed obvious in light of the relationship between the parties.

Self-help repossession is where the finance company ‘helps themselves’ to take the vehicle back. One common question is whether or not there needs to be a notice to the owner of the vehicle prior to the ‘self-help repossession.’ There is no requirement under the Uniform Commercial Code, and there is usually no requirement under the written agreement between the parties. However, if the written agreement between the parties indicates there must be a type of pre-repossession notice, they must conduct same. If there are various calls between the parties with regard to late payments, this is not deemed and cannot be deemed a requirement, but rather an attempt by the finance company to have the lessee or driver of the vehicle make payments.

The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act is to be Watered Down, significantly.

New Jersey has one of the strongest Consumer Fraud Acts in the United States.

There is pending legislation to change the Consumer Fraud Act and make it easier to avoid civil penalties for fraud.