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Operation Ruse Control

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Shopping for a car can be fun and exciting. But wading through ads and promotions from car dealers also can be stressful. Some advertise unusually low prices, low or no up-front payments, low- or no-interest loans, or low monthly payments. But the FTC says to use caution: Not all dealers play by the rules.

Deceptive Car Ads

Deceptive Car Ads

The FTC — and its federal, state and local partners in the U.S. and Canada — today announced more than 250 enforcement actions. The charges range from deceptive advertising and criminal auto loan application fraud, to odometer fraud, deceptive add-on loan servicing fees, and deceptive marketing of car title loans.

Operation Ruse Control includes six new cases filed by the the FTC, resulting in more than $2.6 million in judgments. The sweep follows on the heels of the agency’s Operation Steer Clear against 10 dealers in 2014.

If you’re in the market for a new or used car, don’t let deceptive business practices leave you spinning your wheels. Check out our free consumer information about buying and owning a car before you start shopping.

If you think you’ve been misled, report it to the FTC. Your complaints help us stop rip-offs, scams and frauds.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


If a New Car Dealer sell you a used car (Certified) and the car fax states that the car have never been wrecked before. Later I found out that the car back bumper had been replaced and the front had been painted or replaced before too. What can I do?

It's a good idea to have any used car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy it. For about $100, you'll get a general indication of the mechanical condition of the vehicle. An inspection is a good idea even if the car has been "certified" and inspected by the dealer and is being sold with a warranty or service contract.

Given that you’ve already purchased the car, here are a few suggestions for solving consumer problems.

Them there No Good Dirty Dogs

This problem is rampant, having shopped for a new Ford truck recently, most dealers are offering $11,000 in "rebates," when a large portion of these is $2000 rebate ONLY with a trade in, and that is ONLY if the trade meets certain criteria. Secondly, another large portion (Up to $2500) was already discounted off the Monroney sticker. The dealers use the "Price Before Discounts" as "MSRP" for advertising purposes, and some even claim the Monroney discounts as their discounts. Many of them fail to properly disclose their sales/doc fees. I have been told that an $799 Doc Fee was not the dealer's call, as it was a "Federal Processing Fee" for selling new cars paid to the government. Sorry, don't remember which one, I talked to over a dozen different lots, and didn't note that one. It was a Ford Dealer in Georgia. I saw several ads for loan payments that I found out later were dependent on (undisclosed) large down payments. I will note that all the ads I dealt with were on the dealer's websites.

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at

Don't blame just the Dealers - the Manufacturers to the same thing

They need to go after car manufacturers who promise certain mpg and the cars come nowhere near those number

I had aa bate and switch told a two door used Honda was $8000 payment would be $150 a month for five years got home it read $451 a month for 72 months interest of 22 thousand dollars.

Please file a complaint with the FTC and describe what happened. it's important to submit a formal complaint because investigators from all over the country use the FTC's database. Your complaint could help in their investigations.

We bought a 2004 Nissan Sentra from Matt Blatt in Glassboro, NJ only to find out there that the FTC has file suit against them. Our concern is that we are seniors in our seventies and had problems getting financing due to our age. We financed through South Jersey Finance, who is located across the street from Matt Blatt. We unfortunately are paying 19% for 48 months, and now the car is over two months old, and more then 2000 miles put on it, and are not eligible for the Lemon law in NJ. We are having many problems and now having the car checked out as we noted rusting in the door wells, and lines on the seats, we are wondering if the car was in water. Our problem is that we cannot find an owner for South Jersey Financial, there is no website, the only link is on the Matt Blatt website for people with bad credit. We are also unable to find this financing center on the stock exchange, therefore are wondering if it is operated by Matt Blatt. We are concerned about being in our seventies, having been told the car that is six months old, needs $300 of repairs, and if it is water damaged we have more problems. We do not need these problems at our age, and if they are taking advantage of the elderly it is more despicable. We have filed a complaint with NJ Banking and Insurance to find out if South Jersey Finance is licensed to operate in NJ. We should have known better but we also needed a car to get to the store, doctor's appointments etc.

You can file a complaint with the FTC at

If you believe you're entitled to service on the car, but the dealer disagrees, could contact your state Attorney General.

If you think the ondition of the car was misrepresented to you before you bought it, you can talk with a lawyer. Contact Legal Services of New Jersey or the New Jersey bar referral service.

I've noticed some brand name auto dealers using a manufacture's "Certified Pre Owned" website to advertise vehicles priced well below market value. When the dealers are contacted they claim ignorance about the particular vehicle advertised then offer to sell different vehicles at much higher prices. Obviously the dealers may get into trouble but do the Manufactures bear any responsibility if they are made aware of the situations? Will the FTC target this High-Tech Bait & Switch scheme?

If you think you've been misled, you can report it to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

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