More N.Y. Auto Dealers Pulled Over In Rental Car Case

July 22, 2004

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced that his office has obtained agreements with two Capital Region auto dealers to provide restitution to consumers who unknowingly purchased former rental cars.

DeNooyer Dodge of Albany and Haynes Ford in Hoosick each agreed to pay restitution to consumers and to implement practices to ensure that customers are appropriately notified that a used car was formerly a rental car.

“Consumers deserve accurate and complete information about vehicles they are considering for purchase or lease,” Spitzer said. “My office will continue to aggressively enforce the state law that requires auto dealers to provide notice about a vehicle’s prior use as a rental car so that consumers can make informed decisions about whether they want to purchase that car and what the value of that car might be.”

In settling the investigations, both auto dealers agreed to pay $1,500 to each consumer who unwittingly purchased former rental vehicles without proper notification. DeNooyer Dodge will pay restitution to at least 12 consumers and Haynes Ford will pay restitution to at least nine consumers, resulting in $33,000 in refunds in total.

Both dealerships also agreed to pay restitution to additional consumers who file bona fide complaints that they recently purchased a vehicle from either auto dealership and were not properly notified of the vehicle’s prior history as a rental car.

The State Vehicle and Traffic Law requires dealers to notify buyers when a vehicle was previously used as a taxi, rental car, police vehicle, or returned to the dealer as a “lemon.” The State Department of Motor Vehicles requires that this notice be included in the sales contract for the purchase of a vehicle.

In the case of DeNooyer Dodge, an investigation by Spitzer’s office revealed that salespersons at the auto dealership reportedly provided misleading information to consumers about a used car’s prior use. A number of individuals also reported that they could not recall signing any written notice of the vehicle’s prior use, had no copy of a notice in their paperwork, and that, if they had known, may not have purchased the vehicle or would have at least negotiated a better price.

With regard to Haynes Ford, consumers reportedly complained that no disclosure was made whatsoever regarding the prior rental history of the car they were purchasing.

In settling the investigations, DeNooyer and Haynes Ford agreed to pay in total $14,500 in civil penalties and costs to the state.

Since 2002, Spitzer’s office has taken action against four other auto dealers for selling former rental vehicles without proper notice to consumers. In those cases, the office successfully recovered approximately $302,500 for over 170 consumers and obtained $45,700 in civil penalties and costs.

DeNooyer Dodge is operated by D&D Dodge Inc. and Haynes Ford is operated by Vey Automotive LLC.

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