A former Nissan auto dealership has agreed to pay more than $100,000 in restitution for defrauding customers between 2010 and 2013, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman said Tuesday.
The former Saratoga Springs Nissan on Route 9 at Northway Exit 13 agreed to pay $119,986 in restitution to 119 customers, and to set aside up to $50,000 for future claims, Schneiderman said. The consumers were charged illegal fees or subject to deceptive sales or advertising practice, he said.
The dealership was sold in September 2013, and now operates under a new name with different ownership.
Based on complaints, state police raided the business in May 2012, seizing business records. The dealership’s finance manager, Mark Moore, subsequently pleaded guilty to second-degree scheming to defraud and third-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument.
The attorney general said the raid led to a flood of complaints from the public that revealed a pattern of fraudulent and deceptive practices, ranging from bait-and-switch sales practices to forging of signatures.
Schneiderman said an investigation showed consumers were charged as much as $5,000 for warranties and service contracts without their authorization, and induced to buy vehicles they couldn’t afford with false promises that the dealership would refinance their loans after several months. The individual restitution amounts range from $4,000 for unauthorized warranties to $198 for illegal fees charged.
The settlement requires the former dealership to pay restitution to consumers who come forward within the next three months, up to a maximum of $50,000, Schneiderman said.
“A consumer purchasing a car should be able to expect that when they negotiate prices and terms for vehicles, the contracts will accurately reflect those agreements,” Schneiderman said.
The settlement “sends the message that car dealerships that take advantage of consumers by conning them into paying more for cars than they agreed to will be held accountable,” he said.