Andrew Cuomo (D)
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A Plattsburgh-area car dealership has agreed to a settlement with Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo that will stop its practice of deceiving customers through false advertisements.
Della North Inc., under a consent judgment entered in Clinton County Supreme Court, will pay $7,000 in costs and penalties to the state. The company will also cease running deceptive advertisements for its Della Suzuki dealership in Plattsburgh.
Copies of the company's advertisements must also be maintained for two years to allow inspection by the attorney general's office.
"Businesses that try to deceive consumers through obscure footnotes and misleading offers are doing a disservice to the public and creating an unfair marketplace," Cuomo said. "My office will continue to monitor this company's advertisements to ensure that they are fair and honest."
Della was found over the course of an investigation to be in engaging in advertising that was in violation of federal and state laws as well as the Cuomo's Automobile Advertising Guidelines.
The investigation revealed that Della Suzuki's print advertisements mislead consumers by appearing to offer zero percent financing with a specified low purchase price. A higher purchase price, however, was charged for vehicles financed at the zero percent term.
Della Suzuki was also found to have misled consumers by claiming "Guaranteed Credit Approval" and that "Everyone is Approved." The advertisements also said that zero percent financing was available. The offers were then significantly limited or contradicted in almost unreadable six point font footnotes.
The company also did not list the APR for financing offers and failed to list the number of payments for its offers.