Staten Island auto dealer accused of deceiving customers with hidden costs to pay $1.5M after sued by N.Y. attorney general
December 8, 2016
As published by the NY Daily News on December 8, 2016.
A Staten Island car dealership agreed to a $1.5 million settlement with the state, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will announce Thursday.
SG Hylan Motors Corp., a dealership that does business as Staten Island Honda and Staten Island Nissan, had been accused by Schneiderman in a July lawsuit of unlawfully selling “after-sale products like credit card repairs and identify theft prevention services to over 2,300 customers.”
In settling the case, SG Hylan agreed to pay $1.5 million in restitution and a $100,000 fine.
At the same time, Best Auto Outlet Inc. in Floral Park agreed to repay 200 consumers a combined $115,000 in restitution and a $10,000 fine to settle a probe by Schneiderman’s office of similar misconduct.
“When consumers shop for a car, they deserve an honest and fair negotiation — and not to be misled by deceptive dealerships looking to saddle customers with hidden costs,” Schneiderman said.
The settlements are part of a broader effort by the attorney general’s office to stop dealers from “jamming” or charging consumers for hidden purchases.
Since 2015, 11 other dealerships are said to have reached deals with Schneiderman’s office. There are still ongoing probes into the practices targeting other dealers, Schneiderman’s office said.
Representatives of SG Hylan and Best Auto Outlet Inc. could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Under the terms of the settlements, the dealerships cannot sell or offer credit repair and identity theft services in connection with the sale or lease of a vehicle, offer after-sale products or services unless prior to sale they are discussed and put in writing, and misrepresent the price of a vehicle in the final lease or sale contracts.
They also agree to provide customers with agreements that itemize after sale products and purchases and their prices.
“My office will continue to investigate and hold accountable any auto dealers trying to pad their pockets by charging fees for undisclosed products and services that consumers do not need and did not ask for,” Schneiderman said.