BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. – Consumers should not be charged dealer fees when buying a car lease. This was the focus of two recent Local 10 News investigations.
Despite a federal law in place and attempts by consumers to fight back, complaints continue to come in. State lawmakers said the practice must stop.
“I don’t want the consumer to be screwed,” District 97 State Assemblyman Dan Daley said.
The practice goes on. Attorney Joshua Feygin is representing some of the victims in an arbitration claim against 25 different dealers.
“It’s amazing how traders disregard what they’re allowed to do and what the law requires. Almost every consumer who has reached out to me has a claim,” Feygin said.
According to Feygin, there is a federal law, the Consumer Leasing Act, that states that any fees charged on the backend must be disclosed in the contract at the outset.
Some consumers have disputed fees paid in the past, and some merchants have issued refunds.
Adonai Dasilva said there were $2,000 in fees for canceling his Kia lease, even though his contract states there were no fees.
Bob Palumbo tried to fight $900 in dealer fees to buy out the lease on his Ford Ranger and was told there were no exceptions.
Stefano D’aniello was hit with $2,500 in dealer fees to buy out the lease on his Lexus.
Coral Springs Auto Mall charges customers a fee of $449 for electronic filing. The Road Traffic Office doesn’t change that.
The owner of Earl Stewart Toyota in northern Palm Beach County said it cost him $10. Stewart had been a dealer since 1968. He doesn’t charge any fees.
“I think there are various government agencies that are passing the buck to each other and not getting to the bottom of how we solve a problem like this.”
Sen. Lauren Book was vice chair of regulated industries last year.
“I think what you have uncovered and what we are seeing through your reporting is that the system in place is not working.”
There are some merchants who charge these fees and others don’t.
“If we need to develop policies to make sure that happens, then we do it,” Book said.
State Rep. Dan Daley said the first time he could actually introduce legislation on it was in March.
A spokesman for Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said it had received 40 lease-purchase complaints. They investigate whether they fall under fraudulent and unfair trading practices.
These complaints were also referred to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, which licenses car dealerships.
“These guys sold me my car. Once they smile at me, now they close the door. I feel very disrespected by them. – very, very disrespectful,” Dasilva said.
The Florida Automobile Dealers Association represents over 1,000 dealers nationwide and also provides legal representation. Local 10 News has requested comment on this issue and so far we have not received a response.
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https://www.local10.com/news/local/2022/05/20/car-dealerships-continue-to-engage-in-illegal-malpractice-with-fees-attorney-says/ Dealerships continue to commit illegal malpractice with fees, attorney says