N.Y. car dealer ordered to pay restitution

By Nick Rees | Apr 7, 2010

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has obtained a judgment against the former owner of a Poughkeepsie car dealership who sold consumers vehicles that had allegedly been used as rental cars.

Raymond M. Wilkinson III, the former owner of Pougkeepsie Chevrolet is required by the judgment to pay $225,269.47 in restitution to consumers who were sold previously used rental vehicles without the proper notification. Additionally, a civil penalty of $217,000 was imposed by the court.

A court order had previously been obtained by Cuomo's office to freeze the company's assets and require the dealership to turn over four years of sales records, which would be used to determine who is eligible for restitution.

"Customers unknowingly bought former rental cars, which is not only illegal, but also cheats the consumer because the vehicle is worth less," Cuomo said. "This decision provides relief to consumers and holds the dealership and the dealer accountable for their actions."

The judgment follows an investigation by Cuomo's office that determined Poughkeepsie Chevrolet had consistently failed to notify consumers their purchased vehicles had previously been used as rental vehicles, a violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law.

During the course of the investigation, it was also discovered that the dealership had engaged in other deceptive acts regarding vehicles' histories by omitting to include previous owners on sales documents. Poughkeepsie Chevrolet was also found to have illegally sold a road hazard insurance policy that it was not licensed to sell and to have failed to provide consumers with copies of their purchased extended warranties.

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