FTC stops car dealers from making deceptive claims


FTC / Federal Trade CommissionAds for vehicles on sale by a car dealer in Maryland and another in Ohio were found by the FTC to have deceptive pricing information. It has reached a consent agreement with both that will put an end to the advertisements.

The dealers include Timonium Chrysler Inc. of Cockeysville MD and Ganley Ford West Inc. of Cleveland OH.

“Buying a car is a huge financial commitment, and people often calculate what they can pay down to the penny,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “They should be able to depend on the dealers to provide truthful information, and they can depend on the FTC to enforce consumer protection laws on the lot.”

TCI had website ads touting “dealer discounts” and “internet prices,” but did not disclose that customers would have to qualify for rebates to reach the advertised savings. The rebates were not generally available, and the FTC said that even if a customer qualified for all of the available rebates that customer still might not get the advertised discounted price.

GFW advertised  on its website and in newspapers, and failed to disclose that the discounts only applied to more expensive versions of the vehicles advertised.

Under terms, both dealers must maintain copies of all advertising materials and make them available to the FTC on request for the next 20 years. They are liable for a potential fine of up to $16K for any future violations.