A customer of Orange County BMW claims that the auto dealer drove up the costs of buying a car by including a phony service contract and dodgy financing.
Donald J. Eichele III, of Pike County, Pennsylvania, accused the Harriman auto dealer of violating state and federal laws meant to protect customers against deceptive practices, in a lawsuit filed April 5 in U.S. District Court, White Plains.
Orange County BMW and its attorney, Arthur J. Muller III of White Plains, did not respond to emails asking for the dealership’s side of the story.
Eichele said he bought a 2017 BMW 440 from the dealership as the lease on his car was about to expire.
He claims that Orange County BMW told him that BMW Group Financial Services had rejected his credit application but that other lenders were available.
He was offered a deal with AmeriCredit Financial Services but the terms, according to the lawsuit, included a warranty he did not want. The dealership allegedly said the warranty was necessary to finance the car, so he paid the $3,000 fee.
Eichele received no bills or correspondence, the complaint states, so he contacted AmeriCredit to find out how to make payments. AmeriCredit had no account for him.
Later, AmeriCredit purportedly told Eichele that the loan had been canceled because his application was incomplete.
Then Santander Consumer Finance of Dallas notified Eichele that it had been assigned the finance contract. But the terms of that contract, Eichele claims, were significantly different than what he had expected.
The interest rate was about 25% higher, and the monthly payment was about $60 lower because the dealership had allegedly canceled the warranty.
His signature on the Santander contract, Eichele claims, was forged.
He charges Orange County BMW and Santander with violations of the federal Truth in Lending Act and the New York Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act. He also accuses the dealership of deceptive trade practices, fraud, conversion and violation of the federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act.
He is demanding that the dealership return his $3,000 warranty fee and pay $1,000 for deceptive practices, as well as unspecified damages.
Nyack attorney Robert J. Nahoum represents Eichele.