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September 22, 2011
AG McKenna puts the brakes on deceptive car ads

Vancouver car dealer and his market associate must pay more than $128,000

OLYMPIA - Deceptive advertisements will cost a Vancouver marketing company and its owner more than $128,000 in penalties and attorneys’ fees.

Attorney General Rob McKenna originally filed a lawsuit in 2009 against RGH Marketing, Inc., and its owner Robert G. Hubbard, Jr., a former manager of Interstate Auto Liquidators, alleging both violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, Promotional Advertising of Prizes Act and Dealers’ Licenses Act.

“Illegal advertising not only harms consumers, it gives dishonest auto dealers an unfair advantage over businesses that are playing by the rules and already struggling during this difficult economy,” said McKenna. 

McKenna accused the defendants of misleading customers by falsely claiming that cars were being sold under distressed conditions by  using advertising terms such as “Pre-Auction Auto Sale,” “Repos,” and “Bank Asset Sale” when in fact the vehicles came from the dealer’s regular inventory. 

Their ads also included promises of vehicle discount offers that did not exist, such as “50% off the MSRP” on used vehicles when the Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is the industry pricing standard for new vehicles, not used.

According to Assistant Attorney General Mary Lobdell, advertising statements implying that customers could finance and drive home any car of their choice, regardless of a consumer’s credit rating, were also misleading.

“Although consumers were led to believe credit would be available to everyone at these sales, the dealership could not prove that consumers, regardless of creditworthiness, received financing offers.”

A judgment was entered in Clark County Superior Court against Hubbard and RGH Marketing, Inc.  The defendants must pay the $66,228.00 judgment, $36,228.00 in costs and attorneys fees, and $28,000 in civil penalties. 


Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725
Mary Lobdell, Assistant Attorney General, (253) 593-2256

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