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Post date: December 6 1999

Ford Dealers Settle Allegations Of Deceptive Advertising

Attorney General Spitzer today announced a settlement with a network of eight Monroe County auto dealerships to resolve allegations of false advertising.

Ford Retail Network of Rochester, Inc., which owns eight formerly independent auto dealerships throughout the greater Rochester area, has agreed to pay $11,000 in penalties and costs to settle the allegations. FRN is also known as Rochester Auto Collection, represents Ford Motor Company's entry into the local retail sales industry.

"Aggressive enforcement of consumer protection laws and monitoring of advertising practices helps uphold the integrity of the marketplace and increases consumers' confidence," Spitzer said. "This settlement will level the playing field for auto dealers throughout the region that vigilantly comply with advertising guidelines and laws."

Spitzer's office alleged that Ford Retail Network of Rochester had engaged in deceptive business practices in September and October, 1999 through a television advertising campaign that:

  • Listed prices that did not represent the actual purchase price of autos;
  • Failed to inform consumers of the dealer's ultimate vehicle cost when comparing the sales price with the dealer's price; and
  • Failed to advise consumers that the ultimate total vehicle cost did not reflect all holdbacks, incentives, rebates, allowances and promotional fees paid to the dealer for the purchase.

Individuals with complaints about the advertising or other business practices of the auto dealers are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's consumer help line at (800) 771-7755.

This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carlos Rodriguez of the Rochester Regional Office.