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Court Orders Auto Dealer to Sell Vehicles at Advertised Price

January 22, 2008

The state of Maine has prohibited an auto dealership from increasing the advertised price of a motor vehicle by charging a document preparation fee or using unfair or deceptive tactics to sell an extended service contract.

Five Star Auto Sales, a used-car dealership in Biddeford, Maine, has entered into a Superior Court Consent Decree which resolves the state’s Unfair Trade Practice Act Complaint. The state’s complaint charged that Five Star Auto Sales used improper sale tactics to unfairly increase the advertised price of its vehicles.

“The issue here is simple. If you advertise the price of a product, then you need to sell the product for that price,” said Maine Attorney General Steve Rowe.

Five Star Auto Sales is also prohibited from advertising a vehicle at a specific price and then, without the consumer’s informed agreement, increasing that advertised price, unless the increase is made in accordance with the Attorney General’s Advertising Rules.

Rowe continued, “Bait-and-switch methods of advertising violate the Unfair Trade Practices Act.”

The consent decree states that Five Star Auto Sales did not admit to any wrongdoing. Pursuant to the court’s order, Five Star Auto Sales must provide restitution to its customers totaling $4,723 and must also pay a civil penalty totaling $5,000.

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