By John Burton
NEWARK – A Colts Neck man and his business partner in eight auto dealerships, including two in Freehold, reached a $1.8 million settlement with the state Division of Consumer Affairs over allegations the dealerships engaged in deceptive sales tactics.
Ignazio Giuffre of Colts Neck and Carmelo Giuffre of Brooklyn agreed to pay the $1.8 million plus consumer restitution for the allegations stemming from their Freehold Hyundai and Freehold Chrysler Jeep dealerships and dealerships the two have in Hillside, Hackettstown and West New York, according to the Division of Consumer Affairs.
Division representatives said they received numerous complaints from customers alleging the dealerships failed to disclose existing mechanical defects or past damage to used cars; charged for supplemental warranties and other costly after sales add-ons without customers’ consent; and failed to honor the negotiated or advertised prices for vehicles.
In addition, consumers said the dealerships failed to refund deposits in a timely fashion after canceling the sale or were unable to get financing and provide consumers with motor vehicle titles and registrations in a timely manner; and did not make the vehicles’ identification numbers available, so consumers could check the vehicles’ histories.
Along with the payment, the dealership owners agree to hire, at their own cost, a state-approved compliance monitor for two years, according to the division.
In February 1999, the Giuffres entered into a settlement, agreeing to pay $450,000 resulting from similar allegations, according to the division.