DEALER SALE OF UNNECESSARY OR DECEPTIVE ETCHING PRODUCTS

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At least two dealers nave been charged with selling an “unwanted and bogus” anti-theft product to as many as 1,100 car buyers for a price of up to nearly $4,000 per customer. The allegations were leveled in a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who claims to have recovered more than $19 million in restitution and penalties from auto dealers on behalf of nearly 29,000 car buyers since 2015.

One customer stated she paid  $1,995 for “Etch” on her bill of sale, noting that she had not and would not have agreed to pay for VIN window etching.  An investigation for a number of customer  had paid excessive amounts for etching and other products.

Call (973) 598-1980 for Free Consultation on Your Claim

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New York Used Car Lemon Law Procedures

The Used Car Lemon law provides a legal remedy for consumers who are buyers or lessees of used cars that turn out to be lemons.

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The law requires dealers to give consumers a written warranty.  This page incorporate a New York State explanatory page with our comments.  Under this warranty, dealers must repair, free of charge, any defect in covered parts. If the dealer is unable to repair the car after a reasonable number of attempts, the consumer is entitled to a full refund.

     Unfortunately, there is essentially no penalty for the dealer’s non-compliance so in many cases, they will refuse a refund even if they failed to adequately repair the car.

 

Frustrating Phone Conversation
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For that reason, we sometimes use other laws which do have some teeth or penalties.  

Cars Covered by the Used Car Lemon Law Include any car that:

  • was purchased, leased or transferred after the earlier of 18,000 miles or two years from original delivery; AND
  • was purchased or leased from a New York dealer; AND
  • had a purchase price or lease value of at least $1,500; AND
  • has been driven less than 100,000 miles at the time of purchase/lease; AND
  • is used primarily for personal purposes.

Statutory Warranty Length:

Miles of Operation Duration of Warranty (the earlier of)
18,001-36,000 miles 90 days or 4,000 miles
36,001-79,999 miles 60 days or 3,000 miles
80,000-100,000 miles 30 days or 1,000 miles

    The question of what has been fixed is frequently disputed.  A dealer may suggest it has fixed problem A and another problem B arose outside the New York Lemon Law warranty period.  

Warranty Requirements:

Auto dealers are required by law to provide you a written warranty to covers the following parts:

Engine: lubricated parts, water pump, fuel pump, manifolds, engine block, cylinder head, rotary engine housings and flywheel.
Transmission: the transmission case, internal parts, and the torque converter.
Drive Axle: the front and rear axle housings and internal parts, axle shafts, propeller shafts and universal joints.
Brakes: master cylinder, vacuum assist booster wheel cylinders, hydraulic lines and fittings and disc brake calipers.
Steering: the steering gear housing and all internal parts, power steering pump, valve body, piston and rack
Other Parts: Radiator, Alternator, Generator, Starter, and Ignition System (excluding battery)

A Dealer’s Duty to Repair: A reasonable chance for an auto dealer to repair a problem for a used car is considered to be:

  • three or more repair attempts and the problem continues to exist; OR
  • the car is out of service by reason of repair for a cumulative total of 15 days or more (although unavailability of parts may extend this time).

Exceptions When an Auto Dealer May Not Be Required to Provide a Refund:

  • the problem does not substantially impair the value of the car to the consumer; OR
  • the problem is a result of abuse, neglect or unauthorized alteration of the car.The judge finds the consumer has failed to prove a covered defect.

What consumers should do if they become aware of a problem with the car:

  • immediately report any malfunction or defect of a covered part to the dealer and request the necessary repairs. If the consumer has notified the dealer of a problem within the warranty period, the dealer must make the repair even if the warranty has subsequently expired.
  • keep careful records of all complaints and copies of all work orders, repair bills and correspondence.
  • obtain a report from an independent mechanic that shows a covered part was presented for repair and the problem still exists.  

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CALL (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation to Discuss your Rights r

Failure to Disclose Prior Lemon

machinery of engineering parts

What happens if a car is declared a lemon.  Many consumers do not realize the vehicle can be resold.  Claims may be fraud

  1. Failure to comply with the Disclosure Statute 

    417-a. Mandatory disclosures by sellers prior to resale. (New York State Consolidated Laws : Vehicle & Traffic)

Some dealers violate the disclosure law which says the following

“Certificate of prior nonconformity by manufacturer or dealer. Upon the sale or transfer of title by a manufacturer, its agent or any dealer of any second-hand motor vehicle, previously returned to a manufacturer or dealer for nonconformity to its warranty or after final determination,  the manufacturer or dealer shall execute and deliver to the buyer an instrument in writing in a form prescribed by the commissioner setting forth the following information in ten point, all capital type:
“IMPORTANT: THIS VEHICLE WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER OR DEALER BECAUSE IT DID NOT CONFORM TO ITS WARRANTY AND THE DEFECT OR CONDITION WAS NOT FIXED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AS PROVIDED BYNEW YORK LAW.” Such notice that a vehicle was returned to the manufacturer or dealer because it did not conform to its warranty shall also be conspicuously printed on the motor vehicle`s certificate of title.
Private Remedy. A consumer injured by a violation of this section may bring an action to recover damages. Judgment may be entered for three times the actual damages suffered by a consumer or one hundred dollars, whichever is greater. A court also may award reasonable attorneys` fees to a prevailing plaintiff buyer.”

businessman signing a contract

A popular fraud in New York is to prepare the required disclosure, but not give the consumer a copy or even forge his name.
See our presentation under the lemon law.

2. Breach of warranty

The disclosure suggests the problem has been corrected but sometimes vehicle problems persist.  Then a claim may be filed.

3. New York Deceptive Practices Statute

Finally a claim can be filed for violation of the New York Deceptive Practices Statute.

Free Consultation on Your New York or New Jersey Undisclosed Lemon and Fraud Claim,  Call (973) 598-1980 

New York Deceptive Practices Statute: Cases, Commentary, and Claims

telemarket

New York has a law that prohibits fraud and deception.  This law can provide remedies for deception, fraud, false advertising or other unlawful conduct.  There are unfortunately limits and the New York law is one of the weakest in the nation.  The law and commentary.

§ 349. Deceptive acts and practices unlawful.

a) Deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any business, trade or commerce or in the furnishing of any service in this state are hereby declared unlawful.

b) Whenever the attorney general shall believe from evidence satisfactory to him that any person, firm, corporation or association or agent or employee thereof has engaged in or is about to engage in any of the acts or practices stated to be unlawful he may bring an action in the name and on behalf of the people of the state of New York to enjoin such unlawful acts or practices and to obtain restitution of any moneys or property obtained directly or indirectly by any such unlawful acts or practices. ..

g) This section shall apply to all deceptive acts or practices declared to be unlawful, whether or not subject to any other law of this state, and shall not supersede, amend or repeal any other law of this state under which the attorney general is authorized to take any action or conduct any inquiry.

h) In addition to the right of action granted to the attorney general pursuant to this section, any person who has been injured by reason of any violation of this section may bring an action in his own name to enjoin such unlawful act or practice, an action to recover his actual damages or fifty dollars, whichever is greater, or both such actions.

Frustrating Phone Conversation

The law continues,

“The court may, in its discretion, increase the award of damages to an amount not to exceed three times the actual damages up to one thousand dollars, if the court finds the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this section. The court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to a prevailing plaintiff.”   Thus, the question is sometimes whether a deliberate violation has been shown.  Automatic or statutory damages are limited so the consumer must establish the amount of his loss of damages.

One can  compare the stronger New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.    Tripling occurs when a violation is found, not when the court decides in its discretion.   Additionally the award of legal fees is discretionary in New York, when other states provides for the recovery though the court may evaluate the amount

Call (973) 598-1980 for a Free Consultation on your New York Deceptive Practices Claim

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NEW YORK CONSUMER FRAUD

A number of deceptions have been practiced in New York.  Consumers may be entitled to damages and other relief.    Typical claims are

* bait and switch, refusal to sell advertised cars or other items at the advertised price,

* fraud and deception,

Here is a list of common deceptive practices put out by New York State

Couple receiving bad news over phone

 

Internet (7,024 complaints): privacy issues, spyware and consumer frauds
Credit: debt collection, credit card billing, debt settlement
Consumer-Related Services: security systems, restaurant/catering services, tech repairs
Automobile buying, leasing, repair, service contracts, rentals
Landlord/Tenant  residential repairs, deposit releases, tenant harassment
Mortgage mortgage and loan broker fraud, foreclosures
Retail Sales any sale of goods (food, clothing, rent-to-own)
Home Repair/Construction home improvement services not delivered or done poorly
Mail Order purchases made online or from a catalog
Telecommunications  phone cards, cellular services, pay-per-call

 

 

Bureau of Consumer Frauds & Protection | New York State Attorney …

https://ag.ny.gov/bureau/consumer-frauds-bureau

The Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection, part of the Economic Justice Division, prosecutes businesses and individuals engaged in fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or illegal trade practices. In addition to litigating, the Bureau mediates thousands of complaints each year from individualconsumers.

Filing a Consumer Complaint | New York State Attorney General

https://ag.ny.gov/consumer-frauds/Filing-a-Consumer-Complaint

Law enforcement actions are taken by the Attorney General to protect the public good and to ensure a fair market place. However, for individual consumer complaints, the Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection offers an informal dispute resolution program for complaints against a merchant or business.

 

Call (973) 598-1980 for a free consultation on your New York deceptive practice or consumer fraud claim.  

 

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