A Paragon representative said the company used riders that itemized the additional products purchased because the sales and lease forms from many lenders didn't have enough room to properly list those products. The lenders may now change the forms to provide more room for properly itemizing, the Paragon representative said.
Riders aren't good enough, the attorney general's office concluded.
In some cases, the Paragon riders failed to include the price of each product purchased, the attorney general's office said, and some consumers said they never received a copy of the rider and were unaware of its contents or that they had signed it. In other cases, Paragon lumped the sale of several products together as if they were one item on the sales or lease contract, describing them as "additional purchase total."
Providing translations is not something dealerships have generally done. But a New York City law dating to 1975 requires that when the terms of an installment agreement are negotiated in Spanish, the seller must provide documents translated in Spanish, the attorney general's office said. That wasn't happening at the Paragon dealerships, where many customers do not speak or understand English.
It's an issue that goes beyond Spanish-speaking customers.
In a press release, Paragon alluded to the diverse nature of its customer base, saying it has employees from 24 countries who speak approximately 22 languages. In addition to Spanish, Paragon said it also would provide the translations in Chinese and Korean as part of the settlement.
The attorney general's office says Paragon is prohibited from negotiating any terms of a sale or a lease with a consumer in a language other than English without providing a translation of certain material documents in the language being used before the documents are signed.
Paragon is looking into posting the translations on its websites and in its showrooms.
"Anything that assists our customers and aids them in making a decision -- I'm in favor of it," Brian Benstock, general manager of Paragon Honda and Paragon Acura, told Automotive News.