The agreement with the New Jersey attorney general, which was entered as a consent judgment in court, involved Newton Audi and Newton Volkswagen. The dealerships agreed that they would not add additional costs to contracts for car purchases without the customer’s consent.
Many dealerships engage in a that type of auto dealer fraud, which is known as packing the contract. Packing involves telling the consumer the price of the vehicle and then adding additional costs to the purchase without the consumer’s knowledge or consent. If the consumer notices the extra charges, the dealership may say that the costs are mandatory or that they are required in order to obtain financing. This is almost always a lie.
Consumers should protect themselves by looking over the contract carefully and not accepting any extras that they do not want.
Dealerships guilty of Packing may violate laws regarding unfair trade practices or truth in lending when they make consumers buy unwanted extras as a condition of buying or financing a car, truck, or SUV. Consumers can recover up to $2,000 for truth in lending claims, and dealerships that violate unfair trade practice laws may be liable for punitive damages. The dealership may also be responsible to pay attorney’s fees.
If a dealership claims that a bank requires extras like a service contract, GAP, VIN Etching, or some other added service, ask them to confirm that n writing so that you will have proof. If the dealership refuses, walk away – you are being scammed. If you were forced to buy extras in order to buy or finance a vehicle purchase, you should contact an attorney.