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Toyota Rav 4

Settlement:   $15,000.00
Case Type:   Alleged Deceptive Trade Practices in Auto Leasing
Case:   EFSTRATIOS SOURLIS v. JS AUTOWORLD, and ATLANTIC AUTO GROUP d/b/a ATLANTIC TOYOTA, Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Nassau, Index No. 16-006951
Date:   February 15, 2017
Plaintiff Attorney(s):   Anthony T. Ballato, Esq., of Massapequa, NY
Defendant Attorney(s):   John G. Gentile, Esq., House Counsel for JS Auto World & Atlantic Auto Group
Facts:   On March 18, 2016, Plaintiff Efstratios Sourlis entered into a lease agreement for a new 2016 Toyota Rav 4 with JS Autoworld at an Atlantic Toyota Dealership. Mr. Sourlis, a senior, was unfamiliar with the leasing practices used by dealerships in securing costly monthly lease payments. As such, he was unknowingly overcharged close to $10,000.00 for excessive pricing and unwanted service agreements. Mr. Sourlis went to Atlantic Toyota looking to purchase a new car. He was shown a new 2016 Toyota RAV 4. The vehicle he was shown did not have a window sticker / Monroney Label on it nor was it provided to him. The dealer offered him a “great deal” of $34, 983.00 (the vehicle’s approximate MSRP cost). The seller presented Mr. Sourlis with a tablet and told him that this was an electronic version of his lease and the dealer scrolled down to the signature page where Mr. Sourlis was told to electronically sign his name. Mr. Sourlis claimed he was not given an opportunity to review the finance terms and particulars contained in the electronic version of the lease. Unbeknownst to Mr. Sourlis, the dealer had grossly inflated the capital cost of the vehicle by about $7,063.00 plus related overcharged sales taxes of $611.00, and had added unwanted options such as Lost Key Insurance, Identity Theft Protection, and Excess Wear & Tear protection. After he signed and the vehicle was delivered, he realized that his nearly $35,000.00 car was now costing him over $45,542.00, with a monthly payment equivalent of over $702.00 per month for 36 months.
Verdict:   After filing a complaint with the NY State Attorney General and commencing a civil lawsuit with assistance of counsel as the Attorney General’s office did nothing to help the consumer, the dealership offered to pay the remaining 18 payments on the lease (a value of $5,828.22), which Mr. Sourlis declined. Settlement negotiations between Anthony T. Ballato, Esq. of Massapequa, NY and Atlantic Toyota’s house counsel John Gentile yielded a settlement in the sum of $15,000.00, representing the cost of the unwanted add-ons, overcharges and attorney fees.

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