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Post date: January 29 2009

Attorney General Cuomo Holds Syracuse's Bombard Car Co. Accountable For Fraudulent Sales Practices

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (January 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that his office has forced Syracuse’s Bombard Car Company to pay restitution to defrauded customers.

Attorney General Cuomo’s Office entered into an agreement with the Skaneateles-based dealership, owned by Patrick Bombard, for deceiving customers through misleading advertisements and promotions and failing to inform customers that cars purchased were previously used as rental vehicles - all in violation of a 2005 agreement with the Attorney General’s Office.

Bombard must pay a total of $15,565 in restitution to consumers who were defrauded by the dealership during sales promotions in October 2007 and August 2008. In one promotion, Bombard included an instant savings certificate in the form of a check, allegedly worth $2,988 off the price of a used car. In the other promotion, Bombard included a “Customer Cash Back Savings” voucher allegedly worth $4,000 off the price of a vehicle. In actuality, Bombard increased the retail sales price of the vehicle to account for the rebate. Additionally, several of the consumers purchased cars they did not know were previously used as rental vehicles.

The agreement, submitted to Onondaga County Supreme Court, also allows additional consumers who purchased a vehicle during the October 2007 or August 2008 promotions and file complaints within 30 days with the Attorney General’s Office to be eligible for restitution.

“Car dealerships must provide legally required notifications to its customers and be forthcoming in its advertising materials,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This agreement puts money the dealership wrongfully obtained back in the hands of the consumer. We will continue to hold responsible those who are engaged in deceptive tactics at the detriment to New York’s consumers.”

Attorney General Cuomo’s Office conducted an investigation into Bombard that uncovered the dealership failed to notify customers that the vehicles they purchased were previously used as rental vehicles - in violation of New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law. Certain uses of vehicles, including use as a rental vehicle, can have an impact on the value of a car, leading buyers to either avoid the purchase or pay significantly less than what would otherwise be the fair market value.

In addition, the Attorney General’s investigation found that Bombard charged a consumer for rust proofing without his consent. The dealership also added an extended warranty to the purchase price on several contracts without informing the consumers.

The Attorney General’s investigation also discovered the dealership engaged in deceptive acts in its advertisements, including:

  • Using footnotes that contradict, modify, or limit the principal message of an advertisement
  • Including deceptive sweepstakes offers in marketing materials
  • Implying that a sale was liquidation or public sale, when such was not the case
  • Engaging in deceptive credit sales advertising
  • Including deceptive photographs and artwork
  • Increasing the retail price of an automobile to allow for a rebate or discount - thus saving the consumer no money

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Judith Malkin under the supervision of Assistant Attorney General-In-Charge of the Syracuse Office Ed Thompson.