CHICAGO — A woman who claims she was duped into buying “void and worthless” GAP coverage on a used vehicle has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company that financed the transaction.

Joyce Pettye filed a lawsuit against Santander Consumer USA on Aug. 31, alleging the finance source violated the Illinois Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act and the federal Truth in Lending Act (TILA) when it purchased a retail installment sales contract associated with a 2012 Ford Focus she purchased from Al Piemonte Super Car Outlet in Northlake, Ill.

According to the lawsuit, Pettye was presented with a stack of documents related to her purchase and was instructed by dealership personnel to sign on the lines marked by the letter “X.” Among those documents was a contract for GAP coverage that cost $895, and was limited to purchases with a maximum APR of 24%. However, the APR on Pettye’s contract was 27.06%, rendering the GAP coverage “void and worthless, pursuant to its own terms,” according to the compliant.

Pettye also alleged that she was not presented with a copy of the disclosures required by the TILA “in a form she could keep” or told that she was making an additional purchase when she signed the GAP contract. In fact, according to the compliant, Pettye was “completely unaware that she had signed the [GAP contract], or that such signature represented an additional ‘non-required’ purchase.”

The lawsuit was filed as a class action on behalf of Illinois customers  who signed a similar GAP contract that was void because their APR was also in excess of the coverage’s maximum APR limit.

“…The ‘Maximum APR’ for the ‘GAP Program’ at issue is not determined on an applicant-specific basis,” the complaint read, in part. “And a form addendum for the purchase of GAP protection reflecting a maximum APR was used in most or all of the automobile purchases, on credit, that include the purchase of such GAP protection.”

The suit seeks damages in an amount to be determined at trial and the return of finance charges improperly collected by Santander.

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