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Anyone who has ever been hit with a hidden fee for a product or a service can relate to the story of Robert Schreiber, a Florida man who finally became so fed up he decided to take action. In 2014, Schreiber sued Ally Financial, alleging that the company’s “SmartLease” automotive leasing program substantially overcharged him due to questionable practices.
As part of the SmartLease program, participants have the option to buy their vehicles once the lease comes to an end. Schreiber decided to take advantage of the option, but found it was going to cost him much more than he was led to believe.
According to the lease agreement, customers are supposed to be able to purchase their vehicles for a certain price. In this particular instance, the price was $25,889.70 – plus official fees and taxes. But he alleges that not only did Ally tell him he had to go through a dealership to buy the car, he would also have to pay nearly $1,300 more in document preparation, a dealer fee and other charges. None of these extra charges were disclosed in the original SmartLease agreement.
But rather than simply take it and pay the extra money, Schreiber decided to take Ally to court. He is claiming that Ally violated the Consumer Leasing Act and also breached its contract. As a result, he filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida. Schreiber alleges that Ally is aware of the fact that dealers charge additional fees when selling leased vehicles, and knows customers cannot buy their vehicles for the price stated in the SmartLease agreement.