For Immediate Release
August 2, 2002
For Information Contact:
Genene W. Morris 973-504-6327
NEWARK - Attorney General David Samson and New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs Director Reni Erdos today announced that PNC Vehicle Leasing, LLC, has entered into an agreement with New Jersey to resolve an investigation into violations of the Consumer Fraud Act and Consumer Protection Leasing Act related to its vehicle leasing practices in New Jersey. As part of the agreement, PNC Vehicle Leasing has agreed to comply with the State's leasing laws and to continue certain business practices that are designed to protect the rights of lessees during lease-end transactions.
Also under the terms of the agreement, the company will also pay New Jersey $500,000 - the largest amount paid by a leasing company in state history to settle alleged violations in connection with lease-end transactions. The $500,000 will be used to cover investigative costs, attorneys fees and other administrative costs as well as future consumer initiatives.
The settlement brings to an end an investigation by Consumer Affairs into PNC Vehicle Leasing's off-lease practices including its charges for excess wear and damage. Consumer Affairs uncovered alleged violations after it subpoenaed company documents. Immediately upon being made aware of the investigation, PNC Vehicle Leasing took steps to resolve the problems, including suspending charges for excess wear and damage, and began cooperating with the State to achieve a permanent solution.
PNC Vehicle Leasing has not admitted any wrongdoing nor were there any findings of liability or wrongdoing by the state.
"We are pleased we were able to negotiate an amicable resolution with PNC Vehicle Leasing," Attorney General Samson said. "This agreement establishes some fundamental steps that the company will use to ensure lessee's rights are not compromised."
"One of the important aspects of the agreement makes certain that PNC Vehicle Leasing's lease-end transactions will not be prolonged by unnecessary delays," Erdos said. "It requires the company in accordance with New Jersey's Consumer Protection Leasing Act, upon the return of a leased vehicle, to refund consumers their security deposits or mail bills for excessive wear and damage within a specified time period. For example, the agreement ensures that PNC Vehicle Leasing will not bill its customers for "excessive wear and damage" unless it provides notice within 10 business days of a vehicle's return."
Also under terms of the agreement, PNC Vehicle Leasing will:
PNC Vehicle Leasing LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of PNC Bank, N.A. PNC Bank, N.A., is a nationally chartered bank that operates PNC Bank branches in New Jersey.
Deputy Attorney General David M. Puteska of the Division of Law handled this matter for the State.
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