Tuesday, March 25, 2014

NY Attorney General Fights Deceptive Car Ads

Adapted from Post for Monday, March 24th 2014 @ 11am  by News Radio 810 and 103.1 WGY
Albany, New York

Have you ever been lured into a car dealership by a misleading car ad? You are not alone. It happens all the time. Now we can hail one attorney general who decided to do something about it. 

On Monday, March 24th the New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced that after filing suits against such dealerships , he has reached settlements with six Capital District auto dealers found to have advertising practices that were deceptive and misleading. These Albany car dealerships have now promised  to reform their corrupt advertising practices.   Such practices involved promoting sale and lease prices that were almost unattainable as they reflected discounts or rebates that were not available to most consumers.  Therefore the listed prices were  were not the actual sale or lease price. The attorney general intends to file suit against a seventh dealer on related charges. 
“A car is one of the most expensive and significant purchases a consumer can make. When shopping for a car, New Yorkers deserve to be dealt with honestly and fairly—not misled by deals that are too good to be true,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “These settlements ensure that consumers won’t be lured into dealerships by unrealistic prices that have no basis in reality. Those who violate the law will be held accountable by my office.” Six dealerships in the Capital District entered into settlements, paying fines ranging from $7,500 to $15,000 and agreeing to reform their advertising practices.

Here are the fine print rebates and special discounts of the guilty dealerships.  These are some of the common tricks you may find at the bottom of many car ads:
• a “military” rebate, which was available only to certain current or former military personnel.
• a “college graduate” rebate, which was available only to recent college graduates.
• a “lease conquest” or “competitive lease” rebate, which was available only to consumers who had leased a vehicle made by a competing manufacturer.
• a “NE Balloon Cash” discount, which was available only to consumers who financed their purchase.

In some cases, the illusory discounts and rebates totaled as much as $3,000, so the actual price of the vehicle was significantly more than advertised.
Six dealerships in the Capital District entered into settlements, agreeing to reform their advertising practices and pay fines ranging from $7,500 to $15,000:

Other dealer practices that will be reformed under the Attorney General's settlement specifications are:
• Using footnotes or asterisks that contradict, confuse or materially modify a principal message of an ad.
• Failing to clearly and conspicuously provide certain required disclosures for lease or finance terms, such as the amount or percentage of any down payment and the annual percentage rate.
• Restricting a rate or price to a “qualified buyer” or “qualified lessee” without disclosing such qualifications.
• Using a print size that is so small as to not be easily readable.

The Attorney General deemed these practices to be false advertising and fraudulent, deceptive and misleading business practices.  They did not adhere with the Attorney General's Advertising Guidelines for Auto Dealers, which identify certain deceptive advertising practices.

The investigation was conducted by Assistant Attorney General Amy Schallop, with assistance from Senior Consumer Frauds Representative John VanVoris. This matter was handled by the Attorney General’s Consumer Frauds Bureau, which is led by Deputy Bureau Chief Laura J. Levine and Bureau Chief Jane M. Azia. The Bureau is part of the Economic Justice Division, led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Karla G. Sanchez.

Read more: http://www.wgy.com/articles/capital-region-news-312698/ny-attorney-general-settles-with-six-12183117#ixzz2wy9y3V3V

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.