FTC begins sending refunds to consumers harmed by NY Honda dealer
The Federal Trade Commission announced this week that the regulator began to send refunds totaling nearly $1.5 million to individuals who were affected by allegedly unlawful financing and sales practices by Bronx Honda.
The actions stem from a settlement reached in May.
According to the FTC, Bronx Honda and its general manager told sales employees to charge higher financing markups and fees to African-American and Hispanic customers. The regulator said the defendants told employees that these groups should be targeted due to their “limited education” and not to attempt the same practices with non-Hispanic white consumers.
The FTC further alleged that Bronx Honda failed to honor advertised sale prices, changed the sales price on paperwork in the middle of the sale without telling the consumer, double-charged consumers for taxes and fees, and misrepresented to consumers that they were required to pay extra reconditioning and warranty fees to purchase “certified” vehicles.
The FTC said it is providing refunds — averaging about $371 each — to 3,977 victims of Bronx Honda’s practices.
“Those who receive checks should deposit or cash their checks within 60 days, as indicated on the check,” officials said. “The FTC never requires people to pay money or provide account information to cash a refund check.”
In addition to the $1.5 million is being used to provide redress to consumers, the FTC indicated the settlement also prohibit Bronx Honda from misrepresenting the cost or terms to buy, lease, or finance a vehicle, or whether a fee or charge is optional.
The regulator added that the dealership will also be required to establish a fair lending program that will, among other components, cap the amount of additional interest markup they can charge consumers.