Attorney General James Secures Over $1.9 Million from Nissan Dealers that Cheated New Yorkers

Five Dealers in New York City and on Long Island Required to Refund More Than 1,100 Consumers Over $1.6 Million, Pay $340,000 Penalty, and Reform Their Business Practices

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced settlements worth more than $1.9 million with five Nissan car dealerships in New York City and on Long Island for overcharging over a thousand New Yorkers who wanted to purchase their leased vehicles at the end of their lease term. An investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) found that the dealerships added junk fees or falsified the price of vehicles between 2020 and 2023. The agreements require the dealerships to pay more than $1.6 million in restitution to more than 1,100 consumers and a civil penalty of $340,000.

“Ignoring agreements and adding bogus fees harms New York consumers, and that is something my office won’t allow to go unchallenged,” said Attorney General James. “These car dealerships lined their pockets at the expense of hardworking New Yorkers who were trying to have a reliable car to get to work, take their children to school, run errands, and live their daily lives. Our investigation and settlement put money back into New Yorkers’ pockets and send a clear message that lying to New Yorkers and manipulating costs with shady tactics will not be tolerated.” 

The OAG opened an investigation into five Nissan dealerships—Baron Nissan on Long Island, Nissan of Westbury on Long Island, Nissan of Kings in Brooklyn, Nissan of Queens, and Nissan of Staten Island—after consumers reported they were being overcharged and given inaccurate receipts. The investigation found that each of these consumers leased their Nissan cars under an agreement that gave them the option to purchase the vehicle for a set amount after the lease term ended. But when the consumers returned to the dealerships when their leases were up to buy their car, the dealerships substantially overcharged them. The dealers either added miscellaneous “dealership fees” or “administrative fees,” or inflated the vehicle’s price on the invoice given to the consumer. In some instances, customers were overcharged as much as $7,000 on an $18,000 vehicle. 

The OAG investigation also revealed that the dealerships provided customers with deceptive invoices. These included misrepresenting illegal upcharges as government fees, such as a $37 state inspection fee that dealers charged as $300, and a $50 title fee dealers charged as $500. New York law guarantees every consumer the right to a complete and accurate receipt for every car sale, yet thousands of examined invoices failed that basic test.

Under the agreements announced today: 

  • Baron Nissan will pay $204,656.89 to 186 overcharged consumers and a $59,520 penalty. 
  • Nissan of Kings will pay $437,560.86 to 420 overcharged consumers and a $147,000 penalty. 
  • Nissan of Queens will pay $608,347.83 to 276 overcharged consumers and a $69,757 penalty. 
  • Nissan of Staten Island will pay $282,255.61 to 184 overcharged consumers and a $51,190 penalty.
  • Nissan of Westbury will pay $102,636.07 to 72 overcharged consumers and a $19,440 penalty. 

“When buying out a vehicle lease, the only thing that should be taken for a ride is the car,” said State Senator Monica R. Martinez. “On behalf of customers across Long Island, I thank Attorney General James for putting the brakes on these fraudulent and deceptive end-of-lease purchasing fees that have cost consumers in excess of $1 million.”

“As Chairman of the Consumer Protection Committee, I applaud Attorney General James taking actions against deceptive Nissan dealerships,” said Senator Kevin Thomas. “Preying on hardworking New Yorkers looking for reliable and affordable cars is unacceptable. These settlements underscore our commitment to consumer protection and send a clear message: fraudulent practices will be met with consequences.”

“Every consumer on Long Island and across the state deserves a fair shake, especially when making major purchases like a car,” said Assemblymember Michaelle C. Solages, Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian Legislative Caucus. “It is unacceptable to have had these predatory business practices occur while so many family finances were already strained amid the pandemic and the affordability crisis that followed. I am pleased the Attorney General secured these restitution payments for the car owners impacted by this scheme.”

“Today’s settlement is a victory for consumers everywhere! Adding junk fees to lease buyouts is flat-out unethical and violates our consumers' trust. New Yorkers deserve honesty and integrity,” said Assemblymember Kimberly Jean-Pierre. “I sincerely appreciate Attorney General James for investigating this issue and ensuring that consumers are compensated for the wrongs done by these dealerships. This settlement sends a clear message that these deceptive practices will not be tolerated.”

“Thank you to Attorney General James for once again putting consumers first,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine. “This action provides justice for New York consumers, including many in my district, who were simply trying to get a fair deal for one of modern life’s basic necessities, and were cheated. It also sends a message to those who are using unethical business practices that their actions come with consequences.”

The penalties paid by each dealership vary based on the number of consumers overcharged and the pervasiveness and severity of the overcharging. The dealers have also agreed to audit all deals between the start of the investigation and the present, and will provide additional refunds to overcharged consumers identified in that audit.

Consumers entitled to restitution do not need to take any action to receive the payment and the dealerships have already begun paying restitution through mailed checks in the full amount of the overcharge. The dealerships have also agreed to reform their invoicing practices to ensure all lease buyout customers are neither overcharged nor provided with inaccurate receipts.

Attorney General James asks any consumers who may have been affected by deceptive or fraudulent lease buyout practices to file a consumer complaint online.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Alec Webley of the Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau, under the supervision of Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia and Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine. The Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau is a part of the Division of Economic Justice, which is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Chris D’Angelo and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.