Kost Tire to Pay $275,000 Penalty for Charging Phony $2 Oil Change Fee

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Kost Tire Distributors, which owns 25 service stations in New York including several in Syracuse, has agreed to pay a $275,000 penalty for charging customers a phony $2 fee for oil changes, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday. 

Kost Tire charged customers an extra $2 "oil and filter recycling fee" with each oil change, collecting $181,500 since Jan. 1, 2012 in violation of New York law, Schneiderman said. 

New York's Environmental Conservation Law specifically prohibits such service stations from charging any fees for accepting and disposing of used oil.

The Binghamton-based company has service stations in Binghamton, Ithaca, Rochester, Syracuse and Watertown. 

"Service stations are required to collect and dispose of used oil free of charge," Schneiderman said. "By tacking on a $2 fee, consumers were being charged an inflated price for oil changes under the false pretense that the fee was required by the government."

Kost Tire agreed to pay New York $181,511 as disgorgement of the "oil and filter recycling fees," as well as a civil penalty of $93,489.

A spokeswoman for Schneiderman said she did not know if customers would receive any of the penalty that Kost Tire pays.

In the settlement, Kost Tire acknowledged that separately delineating and quoting a "oil and filter recycling fee" on its invoices was potentially misleading to customers in that it implies that these charges were mandated by law when such was not the case. 

This article originally appeared on Syracuse

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