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Shun Deceptive Auto Marketing Practices

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by credit

Many consumers tend to generalize and believe that all dealers are the same—they are deceptive and too profit-oriented. However, this may not be true for each and every car dealership. It may be true that many dealerships practice deceptive auto marketing techniques, who could have been the main contributors in building an untrustworthy image for dealerships in general. If you want to maintain for your dealership a brand of credibility and trust, you can choose to take the other road and follow the auto marketing or advertising rules. Here are some dealer advertising practices that the New York State Attorney General considers as deceptive.

The Fine Print

The advertising guidelines said that any footnotes or asterisks, which both identify the presence of a fine print in a print ad, that “contradict, confuse, materially modify or unreasonably limit a principal message of the ad” are considered as deceptive.

Moreover, if the font size is too small for the text to be easily read, the ad is considered deceptive. The standard font size that is considered readable for print advertising is at least 10-point type.

False Price Advertising

Many car dealers do auto marketing by advertising a car price falsely, meaning that the advertised price is not the actual price that a buyer gets to pay. According to the guidelines, any price figure that does not represent the actual purchase price is deceptive. Moreover, an advertisement is also deemed the same way if the dealer failed to indicate the fees that are included or excluded in the car price advertised (Registration and title fees and taxes are not really included.), the number of models in stock that are sold at the price they are advertised, and if the car features or accessories in the ad are included in the car price or are optional.

In addition, the term “low prices” or any similar terms that imply that the dealership has cheaper prices than the other dealers must only be used if the dealer has already surveyed his competitors in the area and proved that his prices are truly lower than them or the lowest in the area.

Ambiguous Car Financing Advertisements

A car financing advertisement is deceptive if it does not comply with the terms of disclosures indicated in the Truth in Lending Act. According to law, dealers and lenders must disclose the important details, such as the down payment, loan term or the number of months of payment, and the annual percentage rate or the APR, of the financing program.

Use of terms such as “we finance everyone” and any similar terms that imply that financing is available for everyone regardless of the credit rating are deceptive, unless the advertisement includes a statement of the important terms and conditions for such financing.

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