HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (November 23, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has filed suit against Smithtown Nissan for surreptitiously altering contract prices after agreeing to a different price and terms with the consumer.

The Attorney General’s office received dozens of complaints about Smithtown Nissan alleging deceptive practices, such as secretly adding unwanted and costly options to sales contracts or simply charging more for the car than what had been agreed to by consumers. The complaints alleged that the dealership, located at 535 Middle County Road in St. James and owned by Joseph O. Rubio, led them to believe they were paying one price for a vehicle, but ended up charging them much more.

The investigation also determined that Smithtown Nissan is in violation of a 2004 agreement with the Attorney General’s Office that prohibited it from engaging in deceptive business practices.

“Based on this owner’s history, this appears to be a new twist on an old scam,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Consumers agreed to pay one price and then received a rude awakening when they found the contract terms had been changed without their consent.”

The Attorney General’s investigation also found that the dealership often failed to provide customers with copies of their contracts, as required by state law. The dealership engaged in other deceptive practices at the expense of unsuspecting consumers, including adding undisclosed extended warranties, service contracts, options, and fees without consent. The dealership ignored repeated inquiries from customers seeking to cancel the added-on services and extended warranties.

Cuomo’s office is seeking a court order to bar Smithtown from such practices, recover restitution for defrauded consumers, and obtain penalties and costs to the state. He urges any consumer who believes they were defrauded by Smithtown Nissan to contact his Suffolk Regional Office at 631-231-2401.

The matter is being handled by Acting Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office Alan Berkowitz.