MINEOLA, N.Y. — On April 22, the law firm Bellavia Blatt & Crossett announced an alliance with Lanham Act expert Thomas Williams, Esq.,partner of the firm Ulmer & Berne LLP, in prosecuting its lawsuit against TrueCar. The suit alleges that TrueCar engaged in false advertising in violation of the Lanham Act, the primary federal truth in advertising statute in the United States.
Williams is the author of “False Advertising and the Lanham Act: Litigating Section 43(a)(1)(B),” the leading treatise about the Lanham Act. He specializes in false advertising, trademark and unfair competition litigation, as well as trademark prosecution and counseling.
Currently, there are approximately 150 non-subscribing TrueCar dealers and an equal number of TrueCar-subscribing dealer plaintiffs participating in two separate lawsuits against TrueCar, a number that is expected to increase as the suits progress, according to the firm.
The lawsuit alleges that TrueCar's “no haggle” promise is untrue and its advertising misleads consumers into believing that the vehicle they are interested in purchasing is in stock; that they also are qualified to receive all available manufacturer rebates — a virtual impossibility; and for using the term “below invoice” to imply that it will be sold below dealer cost.
Additionally, the lawsuit alleges that TrueCar advertising fails to disclose that the $299 fee the dealer must pay for each transaction adds to the cost of the vehicle. These allegedly false claims affect not only the consumer, but both subscribing and non-subscribing TrueCar dealers by creating an unsatisfactory sales experience for the purchaser and lost sales to the dealers, law firm officials said.
"Having Tom Williams, the premier Lanham Act expert in the country, join this lawsuit validates our false advertising allegations against TrueCar," said Bellavia Blatt Senior Partner Leonard Bellavia. "We are pleased that an attorney at this level of expertise in Lanham Act litigation will help to right the wrongs we allege that TrueCar has committed against automobile dealers and consumers nationwide."
"Bellavia Blatt has long been a proponent of the rights of automobile dealers and this lawsuit on their behalf demonstrates that commitment," said Williams. "Our firm looks forward to working with Bellavia Blatt on behalf of thousands of dealers in promoting truth in advertising and to achieving a successful outcome for our clients."