A dealership in New York charged car-buyers $295 for a "theft protection" package that turned out to be bogus. A lawsuit says over 5,000 car buyers were "robbed" of their money for protection that didn't exist; now the dealer has to pay. Irony: Defined.
According to Syracuse.com, a judge has awarded a 1.6 million dollar settlement in a class action lawsuit against Billy Fuccillo's 18 New York State car dealerships for tacking on a $295 "theft protection" package to over 16,000 customers from 2003 and 2012. The lawsuit claims that the expensive add-on was package was an illegal insurance policy, because it was administered by a company that was not a licensed insurer, Universal Automotive Services, of New Jersey.
The lawsuit also stated what many of us already know, that the theft-deterrent value of the service was exaggerated and over-priced, because the cost of etching the VIN into the window was only $20 to $50. Most new cars already have VINs etched in multiple locations on the vehicle.
The lead plaintiff, car buyer Heidi Seekamp filed the suit in 2009 after purchasing a Hyundai from one of Fuccillo's dealerships in 2007. She was awarded $10,000, the rest of the plaintiffs were entitled to collect $160, while the attorneys get a whopping $750,000.
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