Consumer Blog: Car Dealer Issues

Car Dealers Should Honor the Advertised Price

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

You see an ad for a particular vehicle, at a particular price.  You call the car dealer to make sure that the vehicle is still available.  The salesperson assures you that the vehicle is still there.  You and the family hop into your car (the one that has caused you to look for a new one) and drive to the dealership.  Excited, you arrive at the dealership.  You ask for the salesperson with whom you had the telephone conversation.  Joe Salesguy appears.  You ask about the car and are told, “It just sold!”

Alternate ending (just like you see on DVDs):  Joe Salesguy says, “Yep – we still have it!”  You test-drive the car, and you love it!   (Big mistake.  Never fall in love with a car.)  You meet with the finance person and are ultimately handed documents for your signature.  You are shocked to read that, as a result of add-ons, the price is thousands more than quoted.

The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices – Consumer Protection Act (“DTPA”) prohibits a car dealer from advertising a vehicle with the intent not to sell it as advertised.  The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles also prohibits dealers from advertising a vehicle for a price at which the vehicle will not be sold to any retail buyer.  If a dealer does so, the Texas DMV might pursue enforcement action against an allegedly offending dealer.  For example, Austin Mac Haik Ford Lincoln Mercury and Allen Samuels Dodge, in or about April, 2009, entered agreed orders (separately and unrelated to each other) with TXDOT.  TXDOT had alleged that each dealership had featured a price on a vehicle that was not the price for which each vehicle would be sold to any retail buyer.  Each dealership apparently paid $2,000.00 as a result.  The agreed order does not indicate that either dealership engaged in the alleged conduct.

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