Today’s news:

City warns boro Auto Mall using deceptive tactics

A city agency wants to revoke the license of a Richmond Hill used car dealership along with obtaining $700,000 in restitution and fines from the company for what it called illegal and deceptive business practices.

The city Department of Consumer Affairs claimed the dealership, Queens Auto Mall at 134-01 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill, charged customers illegal fees, prevented customers from filing complaints and refused to refund deposits on cancelled transactions.

“A license to sell used cars is not a license to cheat New Yorkers looking for a fair deal,” DCA Commissioner Jonathan Mintz said in a statement. “The extensive pattern of fraud we’ve seen at Queens Auto Mall is outrageous and this department is moving to shut them down — period.”

A man who answered the phone at Queens Auto Mall declined to comment.

“The attorneys won’t allow us to elaborate on that,” he said. “It is what it is and we got to deal with it. We can’t comment on that.”

The dealership is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has no rating from the nonprofit, but there were 19 complaints filed with the BBB.

Seven of the complaints were from refund or exchange issues, three for repair issues, three for selling practices, three involving contract disputes and one apiece for customer service problems, guarantee or warranty complaints and product issues.

Both the company’s used car license and auction license could be revoked by the agency to prevent the dealership’s owners from obtaining those licenses in the future.

The agency said it received 100 consumer complaints about Queens Auto Mall that included gripes that the dealership refused to give refunds and failed to deliver vehicles after consumers put down $500 deposits.

Community Board 9 District Manager Mary Ann Carey said the board office only has received complaints about illegal parking, either by customers of Queens Auto Mall or its employees, but nothing about how they conducted their business.

“We never received any complaints about them at all,” she said.

“It is an absolute shock to me,” Carey said about the DCA wanting to revoke Queens Auto Mall’s used car and auction licenses.

DCA said it was also trying to recoup illegally charged auction and processing fees, ranging from $99 to $449, and seeks a maximum fine of $700,000.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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