Car dealer faces new lawsuit in fee overcharging case

Auto One, in Clinton, faces a new lawsuit over paying back DMV fees to customers / Photojournalist Brian Erb

A new lawsuit has been filed against an Oneida County used car dealer, after the deadline has passed for customers to be repaid for overcharges on vehicle registration fees. The NY Attorney General's Office had worked out an agreement for Auto One, Inc., which did business on Route 233 in Clinton, to repay $38,000 to 1,000 customers, plus $30,000 in civil penalties to the state. The deadline was December 16th. Today, owner Matthew Crever's wife Julie, a co-owner, was served with papers in the new lawsuit, that adds $2,000 in penalties and 9% interest on the unpaid amounts.The bright blue building that housed the used car dealership looked empty when we visited on Tuesday afternoon, though there were footprints in the snow. A nearby dealership told us Auto One was out of business. Their phone numbers are disconnected, and their attorney, in Rome, refused to take our phone call.The Attorney General's office says Auto One offered customers the opportunity to pay their DMV registration fees directly to the dealership. For customers who did not have a trade-in, the dealership typically charged them $150, but the actual cost was only $115. For customers who did have a trade-in, the dealership typically charged $110 for registration fees, with the actual cost starting at $57.75. An investigation by the Attorney General TMs Office determined the dealer was keeping the difference. Auto One never admitted guilt, but did agree to pay back the differences in the original settlement.

The state is looking for more customers who may have overpayed Auto One ---or other dealerships---for the registration fees. If you feel this has happened to you or someone you know, you are asked to call the Attorney General TMs Office in Utica at (315) 793-2225 during business hours.