New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman reached a $170,000 settlement on Monday with Westchester Toyota of Yonkers over allegations that the car dealer tacked on a hidden buyout fee when clients purchased their leased vehicles.
The company, also known as Westchester Foreign Autos Inc., allegedly charged the fee from Jan. 1, 2011, to Jan. 31, 2013. The fee, which ranged from $295 to $2,895, was not disclosed at the lease signing; and customers did not receive anything in return for the fee.
As part of the settlement with the state, the car dealer will pay $149,407 to 228 customers who paid the fee. An additional $22,000 in costs and penalties will go to the state.
“New York auto dealers, like all New York businesses, cannot charge hidden fees and offer nothing in return," Schneiderman said. "If they do so, they are breaking the law, deceiving their customers and creating an unfair marketplace. My office will continue to monitor this dealer’s business practices and those of other auto dealers to ensure that they are fair and honest.”