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Manchester used car dealer sold cars with defective emission systems

Empire Automotive Group Inc., a Manchester used car dealership, was fined $40,000 after pleading guilty to two criminal violations of the Consumer Protection Act.

The used car dealership, located at 782 Gold St., used "ghost" or "phantom" vehicles that had passed on-board diagnostic inspections to falsely represent that cars sold to customers passed the emissions test required the by the state Division of Motor Vehicles.

According to a news release issued by New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph A. Foster, Empire used the deceptive practice on 144 cars sold to unsuspecting customers. Empire has since contacted all of the consumers and corrected any deficiencies at its sole cost and expense.

Empire issued the guilty pleas in Hillsborough County Superior Court, Northern District, and was fined $40,000, with $20,000 suspended, and ordered to reimburse the state for $25,000 in legal costs.

The company also must not commit any further violations of motor vehicle inspection laws or the Consumer Protection Act, and respond to all complaints filed with the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau within two weeks of receipt of a complaint.

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