Schlanger Law Group Files National Class Action Over Vehicle Leases

By: The Schlanger Law Group Legal Team 

A Person Signing on a Piece of Paper With a Pen

On behalf of New York resident Gia Sessa and consumers nationwide, Schlanger Law Group LLP has filed a class action lawsuit over unlawful vehicle leases that failed to disclose crucial information about certain costs.

Congress passed the Consumer Leasing Act to ensure that vehicle leases disclose key terms to potential customers. It requires, among other things, that a lease itemize by type and amount the total amount the customer must pay at delivery of the vehicle as well as disclose the total amount due for taxes. For example, if a customer must pay $1,000 before she can take possession of the vehicle, the lessor must disclose the breakdown of the $1,000 by type and amount. Also, the lease must accurately and conspicuously disclose the amount to be paid for taxes.

Sessa leased a new vehicle from Curry Automotive in New York, which used form lease documents from Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union and Credit Union Leasing of America. The lease stated that Sessa had to pay $4,000 up front. In violation of the Consumer Leasing Act, the lease only partially itemized the $4,000 and lumped over $800 in costs into one item called “Other UPF Fees,” (i.e. other upfront fees). Further, the lease did not disclose any amount to be paid for state or local taxes.

After Sessa complained to the New York Attorney General’s office, Curry responded that it charged her $12.50 for a New York state tire tax fee and $723.10 in combined state and Westchester County sales taxes. Whether this is true is in dispute. What is not in dispute is that the lease says nothing about a tire tax fee or state and county taxes, which undeniably violates the Consumer Leasing Act.

More Discrepancies

At the end of the lease term, a vehicle has a residual value. A lease customer does not owe the residual value unless they choose to buy the vehicle. Sessa chose not to purchase her vehicle, which has a residual value of almost $20,000. However, the credit reporting agency, TransUnion, reported the residual value of the vehicle as a “balloon payment” that Sessa would owe at the end of the lease. TransUnion’s inaccurate and unlawful reporting had the effect of making it appear that Sessa owed $20,000 more than she actually did.

Sessa’s complaint seeks to represent customers nationwide for TransUnion’s failure to accurately report information related to the residual value of leased vehicles.

Not an Isolated Incident

Vehicle leases make up a significant portion, almost 30 percent, of new vehicle transactions. Auto dealers and leasing companies use form lease documents to handle such a high-volume business.

“Congress has made it clear that consumers are entitled to accurate and properly disclosed information about the money they’re spending on a vehicle lease. These defendants robbed Ms. Sessa of her right to this information, and then TransUnion made matters worse by inflating her debt by $20,000,” said attorney Brian Herrington, a partner with Schlanger Law Group and head of the firm’s Mississippi office.

Consult an Attorney Today

Vehicle leases can be confusing and hard to understand, but, by law, they shouldn’t be. Brian Herrington and the other experienced consumer attorneys at Schlanger Law Group understand the difficulties that come with fighting auto dealers and leasing companies over hidden charges. While it may be incredibly frustrating for you to deal with an uncooperative company, you do not have to give up or fight them alone. With the right legal counsel, you can put the difficulties behind you and move on.

Our compassionate and knowledgeable lawyers can help you fight for the justice you deserve. If you or someone you love has experienced any of the problems described here, it’s in your best interest to reach out to our seasoned legal counsel. We can help you assess your situation and chart the best path forward to holding a company or institution liable for any wrongdoings they may have committed, so call us today.

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