Auto Dealer Agrees To Reform Advertising Practices

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that his office has settled false advertising charges against four related auto dealerships operating in upstate New York and northern Pennsylvania.

Simmons Rockwell Dodge Chrysler Jeep, Inc., Simmons Rockwell Ford, Inc., Simmons Rockwell Autoplaza, Inc., and Don Simmons, Inc. have agreed to amend their automobile advertising practices to conform with federal "Truth-In-Leasing Laws," the state false advertising law and auto advertising regulations. In doing so, Simmons Rockwell agreed to pay $6,000 in costs and penalties.

"This settlement demonstrates my office’s continuing effort to clean up the advertising practices of auto dealers across the state," Spitzer said. "In addition, enforcement actions against misleading auto ads level the playing field for those dealers who have consistently abided by the law."

Spitzer’s investigation revealed that Simmons Rockwell engaged in an advertising campaign that deceptively implied that the dealer was selling automobiles "for cost." Simmons Rockwell also lured customers with other deceptive advertisements that compared used car prices with the prices of a new model.

This case illustrates a continuing effort of the Attorney General’s Office to monitor auto advertising practices. Since 1999, Spitzer’s office has commenced more than 170 enforcement actions against auto dealers across the state, many of which involved violations of federal and state laws that regulate auto advertising.

Consumers who believe they have been victims of deceptive auto advertising are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s consumer help line at 800-771-7755.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Danaher, Jr. of the Binghamton Regional Office.