FTC, State of Connecticut Target Auto Dealer for Deceptive Sales Practices

Manchester City Nissan is accused of charging customers unnecessary additional fees.

Manchester-City-Nissan-CT-FTC-lawsuit
Manchester City Nissan is seen in a photo from the dealership's Facebook page.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in partnership with the State of Connecticut, filed a lawsuit against Manchester City Nissan (MCN), its owner and key employees, alleging the dealership has been systematically deceiving consumers, particularly regarding the pricing of certified used cars, additional product charges and government fees.

The complaint details several deceptive practices by MCN. Among them, consumers were reportedly charged additional fees for “certified pre-owned” vehicles. According to the complaint, MCN advertised cars, including Nissan models, as “certified pre-owned,” implying they had been inspected and repaired to the manufacturer's specifications. However, the dealership allegedly added a significant "inspection fee" to the advertised price, which contradicts Nissan's rules prohibiting additional certification charges.

Further allegations include charging consumers for unnecessary add-ons like General Asset Protection (GAP), service contracts and Total Loss Protection (TLP). In one case, a consumer negotiated a price for a Nissan Rogue Sport, only to find more than $7,000 in add-ons added to her finance amount.

Additionally, the dealership is accused of misleading consumers about government-imposed taxes and fees. The complaint cites an instance where a consumer was overcharged for Connecticut registration and other state fees, with MCN keeping the difference as profit.

The complaint names Chase Nissan, doing business as MCN; its principals, Patrick Dibre and Refaat "Brian" Soboh; General Manager Michael Hamadi; Finance Manager Aiham Alkhatib; and sales managers Matthew Chmielinksi and Fred "Freddy" Mojica as defendants.

This lawsuit follows recent efforts by the FTC to stop deceit in the auto industry, including the implementation of the Combating Auto Retail Scams (CARS) Rule.

“This action follows on the heels of the commission’s announcement of the CARS Rule, and once again makes clear that bait-and-switch tactics and hidden junk fees have no role in honest dealmaking,” said Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

“Today’s action sends a strong warning to any dealership engaging in these types of deceptive practices that misconduct will not be tolerated,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut after a unanimous 3-0 vote by the commission.

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