by Matt Dennis and Bob Monek
January 10, 2007 — Two local auto-dealerships have agreed to pay 250-thousand dollars for deceptive advertising and other illegal practices. The settlement is the result of a civil lawsuit filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against Value Kia on Essington Avenue in
Southwest Philadelphia and the Value Kia on East Lincoln Highway in Coatesville.
Investigators said the dealerships made false promises to entice customers. Attorney General Tom Corbett said the ads included claims such as
“Free Vehicle with any vehicle purchase”
“Up to $12,000 off new cars”
“YOU CHOOSE! $1,500 cash with any vehicle purchase or 60″ color projection television just $1 with any vehicle purchase.”
Other ads offered consumers a five carat diamond tennis bracelet, up to 60% off new cars, and free gas for one-full-year with every new and used vehicle sold.
“These ads were designed to lure prospective car buyers to their showrooms with promises of great deals and prizes, however the defendants failed to make good on many of the sales incentives,” Corbett said. “Consumers arrived at the dealerships expecting to receive the free gifts or deals only to be told that they had to meet a host of conditions to qualify for the offers. Very rarely, if ever, were car buyers able to meet all or even some of the conditions to purchase the cars and trucks as advertised. In fact, some of the rebates that the defendants combined to reach the advertised price were neutrally exclusive, such as ‘buyer loyalty’ (second-time KIA buyer) and ‘first-time buyer’.”
The lawsuit also said the dealerships sold defective cars and did not pay off balances on trade-ins.
Anyone who thinks they may be owed money by the dealerships must contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection within the next 60 days. The number is 1-888-441-2555. You can also file a complaint online at www.attorneygeneral.gov. Consumers must contact the Bureau of Consumer Protection and file a claim for restitution by Friday, March 7, 2008.