By Anthony Alaniz
The Federal Trade Commission has charged four Los Angeles Cunty car dealerships alleging they used deceptive advertising tactics. The deceptive ads were an apparent tactic to lure customers into showrooms.
Casino Auto Sales, of La Puente, Rainbow Auto Sales, of South Gate, Honda of Hollywood, in Los Angeles, and Norm Reeves Honda in Cerritos, were among the car dealerships charged, according to the FTC.
No fines or penalties were brought against the dealerships, though a violation of the consent order will result in a $16,000 fine per violation per day, said the FTC.
Allegedly, some of the advertisements would promote low cost vehicles, but the fine print would hide hidden fees, taxes, and down payments.
“You should never have fine print disclaimers that are inconsistent with any prominent claims your making, that’s deceptive,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in an interview with the Los Angeles Daily News. “It doesn’t cure a misrepresentation to have fine print disclaimers that nobody can read or understand. It’s still deceptive.”
An Advertisement from Casino Auto Sales, provided by the FTC, stated a 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe LS was priced at $17,995. Buried in the fine print was a $5,000 down payment, though it was unclear if the down payment was part of the $17,995 price or an additional fee.
This is part of a larger operation by the FTC called “Operation Steer Clear.” Six other dealerships across the country have been charged.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News
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