Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation (S.4019A/A.2078) to prohibit companies from charging early termination fees on motor vehicle lease contracts if a customer has passed away before the end of the contract. Similar laws are in place prohibiting phone, television, internet, energy and water service providers from charging early termination fees if a contract is broken due to the death of the customer. This new law expands such protections from early termination fees to motor vehicle leases.

“Losing a loved one is hard enough – facing an early termination fee on a motor vehicle lease that belonged to a departed loved one is just salt in the wound,” Governor Cuomo said. “Television, internet, and phone providers are already banned from issuing these fees, and with this new law we’re doing the same for motor vehicle leases to ensure grieving relatives will be protected from this additional stress.”

Senator Kevin Thomas said, “Grieving New Yorkers should not have to suffer the indignity of paying an early termination fee for a leased vehicle following the death of a loved one. This legislation creates important consumer protections that ensure that surviving family members are not burdened with unfair fees. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this bill into law and protecting consumers and their families.”

Assembly Member Aileen Gunther said, “This law not only serves as a necessary consumer protection but is also the right thing to do for New York families. The idea of having to deal with the death of a loved one and then being charged an early termination fee on a lease agreement is particularly infuriating. This bill will ensure that no family in New York State will be subject to this injustice.”