We filed suit on behalf of our clients, husband and wife, against one of the largest automobile dealerships in New Jersey, along with the finance company, for fraud and misrepresentation, violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act, violation of New Jersey Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Act, breach of contract, violation of the Duty of Good Faith and Unjust Enrichment, in connection with the purchase and financing of an automobile.
On November 26, 2010, our clients, who speak/understand very little English, went to the automobile dealership to purchase a vehicle. The purchase price of the vehicle was $13,595. The dealership then added on its own, without consent of our clients, a $4000 “Millennium package,” a $2300 “Service Contract and a $750 for “Gap Insurance.” Our clients indicated that they did not ask for nor want those items/services. Our clients then signed cancellation forms for the “Service Contract” and for the “Gap Insurance,” and were orally advised that $4000 for the “Millennium package” would be cancelled as well.
The dealership employees then prepared a retail installment contract dated November 26, 2010 without the $4000 “Millennium package,” the $2300 “Service Contract and the $750 for “Gap Insurance, which was acknowledged and signed by our clients.
However, without the permission, knowledge and/or consent of our clients, dealership employees then prepared a different retail installment contract containing the $4000 “Millennium package,” the $2300 “Service Contract and the $750 for “Gap Insurance, and forged our clients’’ signatures on the second retail installment sales contract, inflated the initial price of the vehicle from $13,585 to $15,020, then sent the second contract with the forged signatures to the finance company. Based on the forged second retail installment contract, the finance company provided a vehicle loan to the plaintiffs’ containing $10,954.44 in fraudulent/excessive charges and taxes.
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act permits treble damages, reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs for conducts constituting an unconscionable commercial practice, fraud and misrepresentation. The New Jersey RICO also provides similar damages and recovery for racketeering activities. Punitive damages are separately available for forgery. Forgery is also a criminal act.
This case was resolved satisfactorily in a confidential settlement agreement.