Indiana auto dealers document preparation fees $13.5M class action settlement

Several automotive dealers agreed to a $13.5 million settlement to resolve claims they charged document preparation fees on vehicle purchases.

The settlement benefits non-commercial customers who, while living in Indiana, paid a settling defendant one or more automobile document preparation fees that were not subject to an arbitration agreement.

Settling defendants are the following: Butler dealerships (Butler Motors, Butler Toyota and Butler Scion), D-Patrick dealerships (D-Patrick and D-Patrick Boonville Ford), Dorsett dealerships (Dorsett Auto Sales and Dorsett Nissan), Ed Martin dealerships ( Ed Martin East, Ed Martin, Ed Martin North, Ed Martin of Anderson, Ed Martin West, Ed Martin Scatterfield, Ed Martin 236, Ed Martin 5500 and Ed Martin Britton Park), Terry Lee dealerships (Terry Lee Companies, Terry Lee Crossing, Terry Lee Hyundai and Terry Lee Imports) Twin City dealerships (Twin City Dodge, Twin City Dodge Chrysler, Twin City Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Twin City Eastside Superstore) and Andy Mohr dealerships (Andy Mohr Automotive Group, Andy Mohr Ford, Andy Mohr Chevrolet , Andy Mohr Avon Nissan, Andy Mohr Toyota, Andy Mohr VW, Andy Mohr Speedway Chevy and Andy Mohr Nissan).

According to several consolidated class action lawsuits, these dealerships violated Indiana law by charging unfair document preparation fees on automotive purchases.

These fees compensate dealerships for the cost of processing vehicle paperwork including titles, registration and other DMV forms, according to Autotrader. Plaintiffs in the class action lawsuits claim these fees violated Indiana state laws which prohibit such fees.

The defendants have not admitted any wrongdoing but agreed to pay $13,521,600 to resolve these allegations.

Under the terms of the fee settlement, class members can receive a cash payment based on the amount they paid in document preparation fees. Each class member will receive a proportional share of the settlement fund based on the amount they paid.

For example, a class member who paid $200 for document preparation fees will receive a share twice as large as a class member who paid $100 for document preparation fees. Exact payment amounts will vary depending on the net settlement fund after deductions and the number of participating class members.

Any funds that remain uncashed after check expiration will be allocated to the Indiana Unclaimed Property Fund in the name of the class members who did not cash their checks. No funds will revert to the defendants.

The deadline for exclusion and objection is Oct. 2, 2022.

The final approval hearing for the fees settlement is scheduled for Oct. 24, 2022.

No claim form is required to benefit from the settlement. Class members who do not exclude themselves will automatically receive settlement payments.

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