New Rochelle’s JM Hyundai and Lynbrook’s Legacy Infiniti sold former rental cars without informing customers of prior use

NEW YORK, N.Y. (April 26, 2010) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office is distributing more than $100,000 in restitution to customers of two auto dealerships in the Hudson Valley and Long Island that misrepresented used cars for sale. The dealerships, without telling customers, sold cars that had been used principally as rental vehicles.

Additionally, Cuomo’s office reached an agreement with a now-closed Centereach dealership that failed to refund thousands of dollars in deposits for vehicles that were never ultimately sold.

In the first case, an agreement with Attorney General Cuomo’s Office calls for JM Hyundai in New Rochelle and Legacy Infiniti of Lynbrook to refund 10 percent of the purchase price to 75 customers who unknowingly purchased cars that had previously been used as rental vehicles, which is a violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. JM Hyundai paid $90,246.40 and Legacy Infiniti paid $19,254.30 in restitution. The checks were sent to customers April 23. Additionally, the two dealerships paid penalties and costs to the state (JM Hyundai: $22,500; Legacy Infiniti: $5,000).

Cuomo’s office has also reached an agreement with Centereach’s now-defunct Middle Country Motors and its owner Keith Chaikin, after the dealership failed to refund thousands of dollars in deposits for vehicles that were never ultimately sold. An investigation found that the dealer required substantial deposits from customers who sought financing. In instances where the consumer’s financing was denied, the dealership illegally kept the deposits or failed to return the money in a timely manner. The dealership, formerly located at 1790 Middle Country Road in Centereach, closed in January 2010.

The agreement requires Middle Country and Chaikin to refund deposits that have not yet been returned and pay $12,000 in penalties and costs to the state. Consumers who believe they are owed a deposit from Middle Country Motors have until May 26, 2010 to file a complaint and may do so by contacting the Attorney General’s Suffolk Regional Office at 631-231-2424 or Nassau Regional Office at 516-248-3300.

“Buying a car is a major purchase and consumers should expect honesty and integrity, not fraud and deception, from these dealerships,” said Attorney General Cuomo.

The J.M. Hyundai and Legacy Infinity cases were handled by Assistant Attorney General Nicholas Garin under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Poughkeepsie Regional Office Vincent Bradley. The Middle Country Motors case is being handled by Acting Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office Alan Berkowitz.