Tom Roush, A Westfield-based auto dealer, is set to refund some of its customers up to $129 after overcharging for document fees. The refunds stem from a voluntary agreement Tom Roush reached with the Indiana Attorney General.
Under Indiana law, a document fee must be negotiable and may only include those costs directly incurred in the processing of a vehicle purchase. In many cases, Tom Roush wrongfully included a charge for vehicle etch insurance in its $279 document fee or charged the same fee to customers who didn’t purchase the insurance.
Etching is a process in which a vehicle identification number is engraved onto the vehicle’s windows to deter theft.
“Anyone who has purchased a vehicle knows the process can be complicated, so if you don’t understand a certain add-on fee be sure to ask for a detailed explanation,” said Terry Tolliver, deputy director of the Consumer Protection Division. “Document fees are not required by the government and should be negotiated.”
According to the agreement, all consumers who were overcharged on their document fee are to be refunded by the company within the next six months.
According to the agreement awaiting approval by the Hamilton County Circuit Court, consumers who purchased a vehicle from March 1, 2012 and March 1, 2014 and either did not agree to purchase etch insurance, or otherwise did not receive the insurance, will receive a $129 refund. Customers who paid the fee during this time period and signed an etch insurance agreement will be refunded $85.
It is not yet known how many customers are impacted, but the company will provide a list to the state once refunds are made. The dealership also agreed to pay $2,000 in costs to the attorney general’s office.