Attorney General Cuomo Forces Delinquent Northport Ford To Pay Off Trade Ins, Repair Customer Credit Scores
HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (January 27, 2009) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement forcing an auto dealer to pay off loans on vehicles traded-in and to repair the credit reports of consumers who were adversely affected by the dealer’s delinquent payments.
“This dealer’s failure to pay off trade-ins can have a devastating impact on a consumer’s credit score,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This agreement forces the company to repair the damage it caused and to ensure that the same errors won’t happen again. All businesses, including car dealerships, have an obligation to act responsibly and handle its fiduciary responsibilities in a timely manner.”
Northport Ford, based at 6233 Jericho Turnpike in East Northport, sells new and used vehicles on Long Island. The Attorney General’s investigation determined that, since November 2007, Northport accepted vehicles as trade-ins but failed to pay off outstanding loans on many of the vehicles in a timely manner, often eight or more months. Meanwhile, customers who traded in these vehicles received collection notices from their lenders, and were subject to potentially adverse and costly reductions to their credit-ratings.
As part of the settlement, in addition to Northport Ford paying off all delinquent loans totaling nearly $40,000, the company was directed to make restitution to consumers for any late charges assessed. Furthermore, the dealership must correct any negative impact on consumer credit reports that were caused by their failure to pay on time. Northport Ford will also pay $13,000 in penalties and $2,000 in costs to the Attorney General’s office.
Consumers who did business with Northport Ford and are concerned that their credit may be affected may contact the Attorney General’s Suffolk Regional Office at 631-231-2401.
Attorney General Cuomo urges all consumers to be informed. A provision in the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act allows consumers to receive free copies of their credit report annually. Reports can be obtained by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com. More information about obtaining a free credit report can be found at www.ag.ny.gov/bureaus/consumer_frauds/pdfs/FreeCreditReports.pdf.
The case was handled by Acting Assistant Attorney General-In Charge of the Suffolk Regional Office Alan Berkowitz.