Shaun Zinck Jul. 16, 2015, 12:09pm

ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A New York-based automotive group will pay $310,000 for allegedly defrauding customers with misleading advertisements, said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday.

Atlantic Automotive Group, which is affiliated with 22 auto dealerships in Nassau and Suffolk counties, allegedly used fraudulent sales tactics to mislead customers, and it resulted in more than 250 complaints made against the dealership.

“Purchasing a car is one of the biggest financial decisions many families will make,” Schneiderman said. “New Yorkers have a right to navigate the car buying process without being targeted by false and misleading promotions and sales practices.”

According to the complaint filed against Atlantic Automotive, the group sent out about 500,000 promotional items through direct mail. The mail featured scratch-off game cards, a pull tab game card and other games that advertised customers could win a free vehicle, a cash prize, television or Apple iPad, Schneiderman said.

The tickets allegedly didn't display what a person had won, but instead customers were instructed to bring a winning ticket to the dealership to claim the prize. Schneiderman said “virtually all” the customers who were sent the tickets didn't win.

For those who did win, the dealerships allegedly obtained customer signatures on contracts for sale and financing agreements who thought they were filling paperwork out for a vehicle they believed they had won in through the promotions.

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