George Washington Bridge

Consumer Probe Leads to Charges Against 3 NYC Auto Dealer Owners

Gloria Rodriguez couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel of her 2010 Dodge Charger last year, but when she picked it up from Lenden Used Car Sales in East New York, she had problems from the start.

“When I turned it on it made a noise,” Rodriguez said. “It was making a noise like a clicking.”

Rodriguez says she was rushed through the sale and slapped with a 25 percent interest rate from the dealer’s financing company. She also says she was given a fake inspection sticker and that her car was never fixed.

Now a year later, Rodriguez is one of 75 people who the Dept. of Consumer Affairs says are victims of a deceptive practice. The agency says Lenden Used Car Sales and other dealerships are selling unsafe cars.

“One person had their car catch on fire,” DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas said. “Another individual had her car stop working in the middle of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.”

A DCA investigation has led to charges against three owners of five Brooklyn dealerships. Lenden Used Car Sales and USA1 Auto Sales are among the ones still operating. The DCA wants the dealerships’ licenses revoked for allegedly selling unsafe cars and misleading consumers with prices. 

“People will look online and see cars advertised at $6,000 and when they walk into the dealerships, the dealers will not honor those advertised prices,” Salas said.

Rodriguez says she learned a tough lesson, but now knows her rights.

“They need to close that shop down, because they’re selling cars that are not legit,” she said.

The DCA is seeking restitution for 75 people who financed their cars from the companies involved. Consumers who think they’re affected should call 311.

The DCA says all consumers have the right to buy a car at the price advertised, know details of the financing agreement and decline financing arranged by the dealer. The agency says consumers should check that the dealer holds a DCA license, posts the total selling price and certifies each car is safe.

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