WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Consumers who purchased a car from a Honda or Toyota dealership in Westchester County may be due a refund for being unlawfully sold "after-sale" products including credit repair and identity theft protection, as part of a settlement with the state, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Thursday.
A group of automobile dealers in Queens and Westchester counties, including Paragon Honda, Paragon Acura, and White Plains Honda, and Huntington Honda, Honda of New Rochelle and New Rochelle Toyota, were included in the lawsuit which alleged that the auto dealerships unlawfully sold “after-sale” products and services, including credit repair and identity theft protection services, to over 2,300 consumers, sometimes exceeding a cost of $2,000 per consumer, Schneiderman said.
“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. “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.”
Each agreement requires payment into a restitution fund to be distributed to consumers with CFI contracts. Under the settlements, the dealerships are prohibited from:
- Selling, offering to sell or marketing credit repair and identity theft services in connection with the sale or lease of a vehicle;
- Selling, offering for sale, or providing to consumers any after-sale product or service unless they are disclosed verbally and in writing;
- Misrepresenting the price of the vehicle in final lease or sale contracts;
- Failing to provide consumers with sales or lease agreements that clearly itemize each after-sale product or service and its price.
The settlements are part of the Attorney General’s initiative to end the practice that automobile dealers call “jamming,” or charging consumers for hidden purchases.
In 2015, Schneiderman announced a settlement with Credit Forget, Inc., the company that purported to provide the credit repair and identity theft protection services. Since 2015, the Attorney General has settled with 11 dealerships for amounts totaling over $17 million in restitution and penalties. Over 22,000 consumers have been eligible for restitution under these settlements.
Consumers who believe they have been jammed with unwanted products or services in connection with a vehicle lease or purchase or who were sold Credit Forget It’s credit repair or identity theft protection services are urged to file complaints online or call 1-800-771-7755.