For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: April 14, 2010
Boise Auto Dealer Pays Civil Penalty, Agrees to Change Advertising
(Boise) – Internet Auto Rent & Sales has agreed to change its advertising practices as part of a legal settlement with the Attorney General’s Office. Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said the Boise car dealer also agreed to stop doing business with Automotive Experts, a Louisiana marketing agency that designed Internet Auto’s direct-mail ads.
“Internet Auto acted swiftly to address the problems with its advertising,” Attorney General Wasden said. “The company’s owners worked diligently with their attorneys and my office to ensure that future ads comply with the Idaho Consumer Protection Act.”
The Attorney General opened an investigation of Internet Auto’s advertising activities in Idaho after his office received complaints about the dealer’s ads.
The settlement agreement alleges that Internet Auto violated the Idaho Consumer Protection Act and the rules applicable to auto advertising. The Attorney General alleged that Internet Auto advertised unlawful dealer rebates and failed to disclose clearly and conspicuously all material terms and conditions regarding its pricing and financing. The Attorney General’s Office expressed concerns to Internet Auto in 2009 about the dealer’s advertising practices.
“Idahoans are entitled to truthful and accurate ads, and Idaho’s auto advertising rules level the playing field for Idaho’s auto dealers,” Wasden said. “My office considers truthful auto advertising an important area of enforcement, and we will continue to investigate complaints from consumers, as well as dealers.”
Without admitting any wrongdoing or liability, Internet Auto paid the Attorney General a civil penalty of $5,000 and paid $2,000 of the Attorney General’s fees and costs. A $50,000 penalty is held in abeyance pending the dealer’s compliance with the agreement.
The Attorney General publishes guidelines to assist auto dealers and marketing companies in complying with Idaho’s advertising rules.
Consumers and dealers can file advertising complaints with the Attorney General’s Office by completing a consumer complaint form and mailing it, with the original ad, to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
The Attorney General has obtained several settlement agreements with Idaho dealerships over the years and, when appropriate, has filed lawsuits against dealers to enforce the Consumer Protection Act.
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