PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced two settlements Tuesday related to deceptive automobile advertising practices.
Under the terms of the first settlement, the now-defunct Louisiana-based Level 10 Marketing vehicle sales marketing firm and David M. Bottner, the company's owner, were permanently prohibited from any conduct connected to the sale, lease or advertisement of vehicles in Arizona. Bottner and his company allegedly misrepresented vehicle sales by falsely claiming or implying that sales events involved vehicles brought in elsewhere for the sale.
"In this instance, an out-of-state marketer was doing business in Arizona and enticing consumers by concocting bogus 'urgent' sales events, including supposed 'repo' and bankruptcy sales," Horne said. "These were clear attempts to mislead the public."
In the second matter, Horne enforced the terms of a prior settlement with Abraham Bekelian, the former owner of the Phoenix-based 2020 Automotive motor vehicle dealership. Bekelian failed to make payments required by a December 2010 consent judgment and Horne invoked a $250,000 penalty clause, minus the $5,000 Bekelian previously paid to the state of Arizona.
Bekelian allegedly violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act by using deceptive advertising techniques, refusing to sell cars at advertised prices, requiring consumers to purchase dealer add-ons, and burying a fuel fee among charges for license and registration in the sale paperwork.
"Arizona law requires dealers to truthfully advertise the prices of motor vehicles they offer for sale," Horne said. "Advertising a discounted price that is not actually available may amount to consumer fraud."