• The New York Attorney General says the dealers inflated the price of vehicles at the end of the lease term.
  • Deceptive invoices misrepresented illegal upcharges as government fees.
  • Customers were overcharged as much as $7,000 on a $18,000 vehicle.
  • Dealers agreed to pay $1.6 million in restitution and $340,000 in penalties.

Five Nissan dealerships in New York are facing the music after the state’s Attorney General’s office caught them red-handed. The accusation? Overcharging a whopping 1,138 customers who leased vehicles and then proceeded to buy them outright.

How did this alleged scheme come to light? Customers blew the whistle, prompting an investigation that revealed these dealerships were tacking on sneaky “junk fees and falsified the price of vehicles” in numerous cases between 2020 and 2023. The bad news for the dealerships doesn’t stop there. They’ve been hit with a hefty price tag of their own: a combined $1.9 million in refunds and penalties.

More: 400 Charges Filed Against A Dozen Nissan Dealership Employees For Selling Damaged Cars

According to the New York Attorney General, the dealerships in question are Baron Nissan in Greenvale, Nissan of Westbury, Nissan of Kings in Brooklyn, Nissan of Queens, and Nissan of Staten Island. They were found to have “substantially” overcharged customers, providing them with “deceptive invoices”.

The investigation revealed that the dealerships “misrepresented illegal upcharges as government fees” while inflating the vehicle prices at the end of the lease terms. For instance, customers were charged $300 for a $37 state inspection fee and $500 for a $50 title fee. In certain instances, this overcharging amounted to as much as $7,000 on an $18,000 vehicle.

The five Nissan dealerships have agreed to pay $1.6 million in restitution along with an additional $340,000 in civil penalties. The precise amount allocated to each dealer, as outlined in the table below, is determined by factors including the number of overcharged customers and the “pervasiveness and severity” of the overcharging.

The dealers have already begun compensating their, now, very likely, former customers, by mailing checks, refunding the full amount of the overcharge. Additionally, they have committed to auditing all lease deals from the start of the investigation and providing further refunds where required.

Five Nissan Dealerships To Pay $1.9 Million For Allegedly Ripping Off Customers

New York Attorney General, Letitia James, remarked: “Ignoring agreements and adding bogus fees harms New York consumers, and that is something my office won’t allow to go unchallenged. These car dealerships lined their pockets at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers who were trying to have a reliable car to get to work, take their children to school, run errands, and live their daily lives. Our investigation and settlement put money back into New Yorkers’ pockets and send a clear message that lying to New Yorkers and manipulating costs with shady tactics will not be tolerated.” 

According to News Day, a spokesperson for Nissan North America stated that “the company is dedicated to building long-term relationships with customers by being transparent about the company’s services”, emphasizing that they “expect Nissan dealers to honor the lease agreements”.

The news about these dealerships comes only a few months after another Nissan dealer in Connecticut faced accusations of cheating unsuspecting customers through undisclosed fees.

Five Nissan Dealerships To Pay $1.9 Million For Allegedly Ripping Off Customers