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The law is clear: it’s illegal for someone who lends money to charge people higher interest rates and fees based on their race. According to an FTC case announced today, a car dealer in the Bronx did it anyway.

The FTC alleges that Bronx Honda told their employees to charge African-American and Latino people higher interest rates and fees when they applied for dealer financing. Employees were told they could do this because the African-American and Latino customers had limited education. And the employees had every reason to go along with it: they got a share of the higher charges. 

That’s not all, though. To get folks in the door, the FTC alleges the dealership targeted African-American and Latino communities with misleading ads. They advertised sale prices on their cars — and then claimed the sales listing was a mistake, and if someone still wanted that car, they’d need to pay extra fees or a higher, non-sale price. People who were shopping for a Certified Pre-Owned Honda were also told that “certification” and other fees (which often added up to $3000) were required. Despite the fact that the cars were Certified Pre-Owned before they arrived on the sales floor. 

After all these fees were tacked on and the person agreed to a price, it was put into a contract. Another problem? That number was often higher when it got written on paper. The FTC alleges the dealership often added additional “fees,” in the form of a higher total sales price or monthly installments, without telling the buyer. 

How can you avoid paying too much for your next car?

  • Shop around and compare offers from several dealers. Watch this video for more tips on deceptive car ads.
  • Look into financing options from banks or credit unions in addition to dealerships.
  • Make sure all promises and terms are in writing before you sign on any dotted lines.

Spot a car dealership like this? We want to hear about it: ftc.gov/complaint

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17 Comments


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Jag - Z
May 27, 2020
*Any punishments in store for these lenders? AND compensation for their victims?
FTC Staff
May 27, 2020

In reply to by Jag - Z

The press release explains that New York City car dealer Bronx Honda and its general manager, Carlo Fittanto, will pay $1.5 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges they discriminated against African-American and Hispanic car buyers and engaged in numerous other illegal business practices. In addition to the $1.5 million payment that will be used to provide redress to consumers, the settlements also prohibit Bronx Honda and Fittanto from misrepresenting the cost or terms to buy, lease, or finance a car, or whether a fee or charge is optional. They will also be required to establish a fair lending program that will, among other components, cap the amount of additional interest markup they can charge consumers.

ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ
May 28, 2020
Debieran inspeccionar la de Weston son agresivos.
jose polanco
May 29, 2020
Este e un abuso que no debe pasarse por alto.
T Jay
May 27, 2020
I'm glad the dealership got caught, and wish that they have to pay a hefty fine for their scampish dealings!! Also FTC, thanks for the education.
jose ignacio
May 31, 2020
seguimos con el racismo blanco en la america de las liberades
Don't pandorau…
May 27, 2020
That is discrimination! The dealership should face fines and shutdown.
No umarse su d…
February 12, 2021
Yo compre un carro en bronx honda en 2019 y ellos me positron garantias ensima de mas guarantias y ellos no me quieron alluda y dijieron que es mi culpa y mos pagos son esesiva mente Altos el carro me lo vendiero mas caro que lo que valia y ellos no quieren responder
bogus052834
May 27, 2020
Well, did those people who were committing this fraud get fined, sent to jail after a trial? What happened?
Don't use your…
May 27, 2020
I am happy that you caught up with that dealer i expect that honda will pull out and hopefully somebody goes to jail and has to sign one of their own contracts
Old Person
May 27, 2020
I hope the participants ALL go to jail. AND huge fine. I would include the employees in the fine. They are culpable also. Publish the dealerships name would be appropriate.
Family man 5678
May 27, 2020

In reply to by Old Person

the rule of Law must make a gigantic impact on this nation.
Rfengineer62
May 28, 2020

In reply to by Old Person

It appears as if the name of the dealership is Bronx Honda.
GP
May 27, 2020
I like to know if this a common practice w, Honda Motors. We bought a NEW CRV 2015 EX Im Asian American Paying Over $527 M.O. who do I contact...This is a Lot more than a Hi End2020 Model
michellesh
May 28, 2020
I can't believe that this can still happen in this day and age. I'm please to hear that this establishment was caught and had to pay a hefty fine. YES!!!!
calif.usa
May 29, 2020
They should shut down this place,and put them in jail for 5 years.
Fuzzball02
August 20, 2020
Reading that a car dealership has gone this low on selling cars to people has me livid. I was just swindled into buying an extended warranty with a tying tactic done by the finance officer of the Honda Dealer I made a purchase. These dealerships most of them are highly disgusting and there should be stronger laws to punish them for ripping off customers. Also there should be protests and lobbying to allow direct to customer sales from car companies since dealerships are so deceitful. That being said, Honda Motor America needs to evaluate their dealer network because if these slime ball dealerships keep abusing their customers, they will lose sales. Matter of fact all brands should do this. Personally I was so disgusted with the dealership i went to and hearing how this dealership discriminated against customers of particular ethnicities, that i won’t consider Honda again the next time I make a vehicle purchase unless there is some big changes. Glad that the FTC took them to task and that justice was served. Hopefully they will be put out of business such a place shouldn’t deserve to exist.