Georgia marketer latest to settle over car ads
SEATTLE – Ads proclaiming, “Government Vehicle Disposal,” and “The Repo Joe Sale,” are designed to steer buyers to used car sales events under the pretense they’re getting a special deal. But the Washington Attorney General’s Office says these promotions usually violate the state’s Consumer Protection Act.
“We’re laying on the horn because too many advertisements suggest that the cars being sold are repos available for a limited time and at a special price,” Assistant Attorney General Mary Lobdell said. “In reality, the cars are from the dealer’s standard inventory and the ads typically fail to disclose that prices are contingent on the buyer’s ability and willingness to obtain financing.”
A Norcross, Ga., marketing firm is the latest to settle over accusations of deceptive advertising practices. Action Integrated Marketing and its CEO, Jay D Murphree, were accused of designing promotions that included misrepresentations about the origin of the vehicles offered for sale, created a false sense of urgency, failed to adequately disclose prices and terms and failed to disclose all mandatory charges including a documentary fee. The promotions ran in multiple states and customers included one Ford dealership in Washington.
Under a multistate settlement filed today in Thurston County Superior Court and other states’ local courts, Action Integrated Marketing and Murphree agree to restrictions on their marketing practices. The defendants will pay $150,000 to reimburse the participating states for attorneys’ fees; Washington’s share is $13,000.
A civil penalty of $130,000 is suspended provided the defendants comply with the agreement. Other states participating in the settlement include: Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
The Washington Attorney General’s Office has brought 10 other cases concerning similar allegations since 2007. The office created a Web page at www.atg.wa.gov/dealers.aspx with tips to help dealers comply with advertising laws.
Action Integrated Marketing ComplaintAction Integrated Marketing Consent Judgment
Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432, firstname.lastname@example.org