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A Lakewood resident who alleges he was rushed into financing a new vehicle purchase with the assurance that he was receiving "the best possible rate" is now fighting back after learning that the "great rate" he was given is not actually a great rate.

The resident originally filed legal action in New Jersey Superior Court. As the vehicle financing company is based in Michigan and the lawsuit involves allegations of federal constitutional rights, the case has just been transferred to federal court.

The lawsuit was filed by Larry Loigman, a resident of Lakewood and an attorney with an office in Middletown, on behalf of himself.

According to the complaint:

On March 7, 2023, Mr. Loigman purchased a new 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EUV automobile, from Pine Belt Enterprises, Inc., an authorized Chevrolet retailer located on Route 88 in Lakewood.

Pine Belt offers customers assistance with financing new vehicles. For this service, Pine Belt is an agent of Ally Financial, a Michigan-based financing firm.

Mr. Loigman specifically asked the Pine Belt representatives to "locate the best possible financing for a portion of the vehicle cost." They assured him that the best financing was available through Ally Financial at an annual percentage rate of 8.59%.

The retailer then insisted that the transaction be completed as soon as possible and led Mr. Loigman into signing a “Retail Installment Sale Contract, Simple Finance Charge."

The Contract includes the an assignment, in the following terms: “Seller assigns its interest in this contract to Ally Financial (Assignee) under the terms of Seller’s agreement(s) with Assignee. Assigned without recourse."

At the time of the sale, because the retailer insisted that the transaction be completed as soon as possible, Mr. Loigman did not have an opportunity to research other financing options. Nonetheless, shortly thereafter, he learned that the financing provided by Ally Financial, through its agent, Pine Belt, was not at a commercially reasonable rate, or at the best rate.

On March 23, 2023, after receiving promotional materials from Ally Financial which stated “we want to make your experience with us simple and hassle-free,” Mr. Loigman telephoned the offices of Ally Financial and spoke to a supervisor. The supervisor insisted that the company, although the holder of the note, could not modify the terms of same. The supervisor also refused to transfer Mr. Loigman to speak to another person in authority at the company.

In response, Mr. Loigman filed legal action seeking a judgement of $20,000 plus filing fees because he "has suffered, and will continue to suffer, actual losses as a result of Defendant’s wrongful conduct."

Mr. Loigman's lawsuit also alleges that Ally Financial engages in consumer fraud, and regularly designs its business to cheat, deceive, defraud and mislead retail consumers.

"By way of example and not by way of limitation, Ally had and has an undisclosed, secret or concealed ongoing business relationship with Pine Belt whereby Ally provides rewards, incentives or other payments to Pine Belt, for steering business to it; Ally engaged and engages in business practices whereby it directs, instructs or encourages retailers, including Pine Belt, to conceal or misrepresent information to consumers, and to withhold information about more favorable loan terms offered by its competitors; Ally, although the apparent holder in due course of the note, denied and denies that it has the authority to modify the terms thereof; Ally denied and denies access to its assignment agreement with Pine Belt.

"Ally, through its agent, broker or authorized representative, failed to provide the clear and conspicuous disclosures required to consumers in a credit transaction, as mandated by both federal and New Jersey law, such as the Truth in Lending Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and the Plain Language Review Act.

On Friday, New York Attorney Joseph M. DeFazio representing Ally Financial moved the case from the New Jersey Superior Court to U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. DeFazio wrote to the court that while the case purports to arise under New Jersey statutes or common law, the case actually arises under federal law because Plaintiff alleges violations of various federal statutes and regulations, and pursuant to federal law the case properly belongs in federal court.

Although Ally has until June 13 to file a complete Answer to the Complaint, in their initial document filing they already deny the allegations in the Complaint, that Plaintiff has stated a claim for which relief may be granted, and that Plaintiff has been damaged in any manner.

The Pine Belt Family of Dealerships which has four dealerships in Lakewood, N.J., two in Toms River, NJ and one in Keyport, NJ is a family-owned and operated New Jersey car dealer that offers new or pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs. Pine Belt Cars specializes in Cadillac, Chevy, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Nissan, RAM and Subaru cars.

The Family of Dealerships is very committed philanthropically to local communities. Some of Pine Belt’s philanthropic affiliations include sponsoring the Pine Belt Arena, Lakewood Little League, United Way of Ocean County, Lakewood Police Department, Jewish Federation, and the Monmouth-Ocean Development Council.

In 2008, a lawsuit case that went all the way to the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, revealed that Pine Belt has a vehicle loan agreement with the Lakewood Police Department in which the car dealer permits the Department to use their unregistered motor vehicles for undercover police investigations.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It shouldn’t be up to a seller to find you the “best rate”. They can tell you what the cost is if you finance through them. It is up to you to do your due diligence by calling your own bank and/or financing institutions that you have a relationship with to see if you can get a better rate through them. If you have a good relationship with your financial institution then you can usually get the best rate through them. Also anytime any business says you have to purchase this “right now or else” without letting you do research, it’s time to walk away.