NEW YORK — Victory Mitsubishi of Larchmont (N.Y.) and Victory Suzuki of the Bronx (N.Y.) have been charged with selling an “unwanted and bogus” anti-theft product to as many as 1,100 car buyers for a price of up to nearly $4,000 per customer. The allegations were leveled in a lawsuit filed by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who claims to have recovered more than $19 million in restitution and penalties from auto dealers on behalf of nearly 29,000 car buyers since 2015.
To dealers who have followed headlines from New York and other states, the details of the case are painfully familiar. In April 2015, a Victory Mitsubishi customer contacted Schneiderman’s office regarding a charge of $1,995 for “Etch” on her bill of sale, noting that she had not and would not have agreed to pay for VIN window etching.
That customer received a refund shortly after the AG’s office contacted the dealership, but the complaint spurred an investigation that found more than 1,000 customers of Victory Mitsubishi and Victory Suzuki had paid between $129 and $3,998 for the product, typically without their consent and often without any engraving having taken place, according to the lawsuit.
Among customers who were made aware of the product, many were led to believe a credit of up to either $2,500 or $5,000 would be issued if their etch-equipped vehicle was stolen; however, a series of conditions and limitations rendered the credit “illusory,” Schneiderman said.
“Consumers shouldn’t have to worry about being scammed by auto dealers when they buy a car," he added. "We will continue to protect New Yorkers — and take on those who seek to rip off consumers with hidden and unwanted fees and products.”