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Post date: May 11 2016

A.G. Schneiderman Settles with Upstate Auto Service Chain For Illegally Charging Consumers Fees Prohibited Under State Law

Kost Tire Distributors, Inc Charged Oil And Filter Recycling Fee To Customers In Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse, And Watertown

NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has obtained a settlement with an upstate New York automobile service station company who charged customers an extra $2 fee for each oil change that the company performed for several years in violation of New York law.  Kost Tire Distributors, Inc., Binghamton-based owner and operator of 25 service stations throughout New York, including Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown, imposed an “oil and filter recycling fee” with each oil change on top of the quoted price for the work.   New York’s Environmental Conservation Law specifically prohibits such service stations from charging any fees for accepting and disposing of used oil.

“Service stations are required to collect and dispose of used oil free of charge,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “By tacking on a $2 fee, consumers were being charged an inflated price for oil changes under the false pretense that the fee was required by the government. The agreement announced today will continue to protect our environment while also protecting consumers across Upstate New York.”

Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation discovered that since January 1, 2012, Kost Tire collected over $181,500 in these improper fees from customers throughout New York.  As a part of the settlement, Kost Tire agreed that it will comply with New York’s Environmental Conservation Law and accept and properly dispose of used oil at no charge to customers and non-customers in quantities up to 5 gallons per day, each. 

Additionally, the settlement acknowledged that Kost Tire’s separately delineating and quoting a “oil and filter recycling fee” on its invoices is potentially misleading to customers in that it implies that these charges are mandated by law when such was not the case. 

As a part of the settlement, Kost Tire has agreed to pay the State of New York $181,511.36 as disgorgement of the “oil and filter recycling fees”, as well as a civil penalty of $93,488.64.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Danaher, Jr. of the Binghamton Regional Office.  The Binghamton Regional Office is led by Assistant Attorney General In-Charge James E. Shoemaker.  The Binghamton Regional Office is part of the Division of Regional Affairs led by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs Marty Mack.

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