FTC curbs auto dealers’ deceptive advertising

Some auto dealers put tempting promises in their ads. But when you try to close the deal, it’s another story. Such is the case with Las Vegas-area auto dealers, Planet Nissan and Planet Hyundai.

According to the FTC, Planet Nissan and Planet Hyundai’s ads touted sales, lease or financing options that seemed attractive but were cancelled out by fine-print disclaimers. Some of their disclaimers also left out relevant terms, like the total amount due at signing.

A prime example: Some Planet Nissan ads label vehicle offers as a “PURCHASE! NOT A LEASE!” when, in fact, many of the offers are for leases. What’s more, Planet Nissan’s ads tout leases available for “$0 DOWN” when $2,000 is actually due at signing.

Some of Planet Hyundai’s ads promote “50% OFF” purchase prices on vehicles. But the prices are only available to customers who meet several requirements, like being a recent college graduate or a member of the military, owning a currently registered Hyundai, and trading in a vehicle.

Under the proposed settlement, Planet Nissan and Planet Hyundai must stop misrepresenting the cost of buying or leasing a vehicle, and whether the offer is for the purchase, sale, financing or leasing of a vehicle. Both dealerships must also clearly and conspicuously disclose certain leasing and financing terms.

These cases build on previous FTC enforcement sweeps Operation Ruse Control and Operation Steer Clear.

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


FTC should check out Milton Ruben Auto Group located in Augusta, GA

You can report a problem to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses.

If it sounds to good to be true it is.

I was also ripped off by the lease of an Acura MDX from Pohanka Acura, Chantilly, VA. The sales person said that I would be able to purchase the vehicle in 6 months and the loan amount will decrease significantly. Well, in 6 months the loan never decreased. After paying almost $6K+/- it looked like I only less than a thousand dollars. I was livid and also tried to return the vehicle for a lesser payment, but my negetive equity was through the roof, like $14K or less, but no one could trade the car because the negative equity of the vehicle was so high. I had to do a voluntary surrender (voluntary repossession as they consider it) and now I have to wait for the car to go through auction, in order to see what I will be charged at the end. It was an extreme misleading. it was my first Lease and my last!

You can file complaints about this with your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I have previously submitted a complaint related to this subject with regards to Greeley, CO Toyota dealership.

Unfortunately this is a widespread practice in car industry. One example that I personally experienced is Auto Fair dealerships in Manchester NH and surrounding towns. I dealt with Auto Fair Ford and Hyundai and have very bad memories.

Your blog comments don't go into the database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

You can file complaints about this with your state Attorney General’s office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

I don't know how it works in NH, but filing a complaint (for car dealer deceptive practices) with the Attorney General office in NEVADA is useless. The AG office will "forward" the complaint to the DMV Compliance Enforcement Division, and it would get forgotten.

I've bought five cars in my life, and with every single purchase the dealer was guilty of some form of false advertising.Why? Because they know they can get away with it! Why? Because they know the FTC is apathetic!

Sure, the FTC occasionally goes after one or two auto dealers so it can post that "success story" on its website and put that feather in its cap, but when has the FTC actually made any real and meaningful difference in our society for the benefit of the American car buying consumers!? NEVER! In fact, because the FTC has so clearly demonstrated its apathy toward this fraud-plagued industry, the problem has only increased.

The very fact that there is an agency that is supposed to stop this kind of fraud, but doesn't, encourages auto dealers to cheat car buyers! As usual, the fabric of our society is stained with greed and indifference because it's all about profit over people!!

The FTC is complicit in this fraud through its failure to act in a meaningful way on behalf of the people it was entrusted to protect. The real scam here is the FTC itself...that we pay for with our taxes!


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