FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COURT APPROVES $3 MILLION CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AGAINST WARNOCK CAR DEALERSHIPS FOR UNLAWFUL FEES
February 2, 2012 - Morristown, NJ: A class action settlement of more than $3 million against two Morris County car dealerships, Warnock Dodge and Warnock Ford was granted final approval today by Judge David B. Rand, Presiding Judge Civil Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in Morristown. The settlement resolves three consolidated class actions alleging the dealerships charged customers unlawful fees, including registration fee overcharges and documentary service fees. Class members, who are represented by the Wolf Law Firm, LLC of North Brunswick and The Law Offices of Glen H. Chulsky of Ledgewood, will receive cash payments of $40 to $111 per vehicle purchased depending on the type of unlawful fee allegedly charged.
The settlement follows the New Jersey Supreme Court’s 2009 decision in one of the actions, Bosland v. Warnock Dodge, et al., in which the Court rejected the dealership’s argument that a business cannot be sued for unlawful overcharges under New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act unless the consumer first demands a refund and is refused. The Court explained that requiring consumers to request a refund before filing a lawsuit would mean that “merchants would be free to violate the [Consumer Fraud Act], providing refunds only to those consumers savvy enough to request them...” The Court also noted that a pre-lawsuit request requirement would also effectively preclude these rare, “savvy” customers from bringing class actions on behalf of the vast majority of customers who did not realize they were overcharged, writing, “When confronted, as we are here, with a plaintiff who asserts that she was the victim of an overcharge which itself is small in amount, and who seeks recovery for herself and on behalf of numerous others with ‘nominal’ claims, we cannot overlook the reality that, without the remedy that the CFA affords, all of these wrongs might go unvindicated.” The Wolf Law Firm and Law Office of Glen H. Chulsky were also counsel on the appeal.
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