March 16, By Christian Murray
The Department of Consumer Affairs has filed charges against Major World, a Northern Boulevard-based auto dealership, claiming that the company has been using deceptive and illegal practices to profit from consumers.
The DCA claims that the firm has a long-standing practice of luring unsuspecting consumers, particularly those with limited English proficiency, with promises of great deals on used cars and financing, regardless of credit history, income, or income-to-debt ratios.
The city agency is seeking more than $2 million in restitution and fines and the revocation of Major World’s three secondhand auto dealer licenses and the creation of a trust for the victims who were allegedly cheated.
The allegations will be heard in front of the city’s Office of Administrative Trials and Hearings at a date to be determined.
The charges deal with the firm’s practices at Major World Chevrolet (43-40 Northern Boulevard), Major World Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram (50-30 Northern Boulevard), and Major Kia of Long Island City (44-11 Northern Boulevard).
The DCA claims that Major World’s illegal practices included submitting false information on consumers’ credit applications–such as the nature of their employment, income and monthly rent obligations–to falsely inflating car values.
Major World, the DCA claims, engaged in these practices to make car deals more attractive to financing companies, which would then issue loans to many consumers who were not qualified to receive them.
In the end, the DCA claims, many consumers were left with overpriced cars and were saddled with high-interest loans.
DCA’s investigation to date includes 30 consumers, a fraction of the number of people likely harmed by Major World, the DCA claims.
“Our city’s working families, who often struggle to make ends meet, rely on their cars to accomplish life’s most basic tasks like going to work or going to school,” said DCA Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Buying that car is usually one of the largest purchases a family makes. It is outrageous that Major World, who claims to treat its customers like family, traps these hardworking New Yorkers into loans they can’t afford.”
The owners of Major World could not be reached for comment.