By David Brand
A Queens car dealership is in a world of trouble.
New York City’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings (OATH) determined in 2018 that Major World, a large Queens-based car dealer, owed consumers $3 million for exploiting low-income customers, especially immigrants, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced Friday.
DCA brought the case against Major World in August 2017, charging that Major World used “deceptive and illegal practices to profit from vulnerable low-income and immigrant consumers.”
The settlement agreement mandates that Major World pay roughly $142,000 directly to 40 consumers and $68,000 to cover their outstanding loans. Major World will also refund customers who had to pay for repairs on their cars.
Major World committed tens of thousands of violations, according to court documents.
Employees specifically lied about consumers’ income and monthly rent on their credit applications, falsely advertised the financial terms of deals in print advertisements and concealed financing terms, according to court documents.
The company also failed to provide financial documents in Spanish to Spanish-speaking customers and misled customers about their legal rights and the history, condition, and quality of the used cars they purchased.
Major World did not respond to several requests for comment from the Eagle. An employee at the corporate headquarters in Long Island City hung up when asked for comment.
DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas said her agency will continue monitoring Major World’s sales practices.
“We are pleased that the judge recognized Major World’s egregious conduct and ordered that they pay a multi-million dollar fine,” Salas said. “While we believe Major World’s actions warranted license revocation—or at least suspension—and that a consumer restitution fund would ensure the many other consumers harmed by their practices could be made whole, the decision puts Major World and other used car dealerships on alert: DCA will not tolerate this conduct.”
It’s the latest in a series of misdeeds by the car dealer.
In July, former Major World senior managers Harold Bendell and Bruce Bendell pleaded guilty in federal court in Central Islip to falsifying corporate tax returns.