Plaintiff filed a consumer fraud case against a major New Jersey Automobile dealership for refusing to take back a vehicle after the lease financing fell through. The dealership gave the plaintiff possession of the vehicle without having the lease approved The plaintiff took possession of the vehicle subject to the following written condition: “I understand, that my purchase/lease from dealer is not yet final and is subject to credit approval by a financing institution selected by dealer as well as my compliance with all conditions set forth by said financing institution.” When plaintiff’s application for credit was declined, the plaintiff returned the vehicle. However, the dealership refused to accept the vehicle and attempted to steer the plaintiff into lease terms with higher interest rates. The plaintiff refused.
The dealership refused to return the vehicle until plaintiff filed a complaint with the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs. The dealership then released the vehicle and unlawfully holding it for 50 days.
The plaintiff then filed a suit against the dealership for violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act. The matter was resolved after the dealership agreed to compensate the plaintiff for the wrongful retention of plaintiff’s vehicle for 50 days and reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA) prevents any business from using or employing any improper, unethical, or unconscionable conduct is dealing with its customers. Violation of the NJCFA may subject the business to treble damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.