businessman signing a contract

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 Deceptive Practices Statute: Cases, Commentary, and Claims


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.

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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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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

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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 …

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

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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