Attorney General warns consumers of deceptive car sale practices

Boston Statehouse
Mass AG Maura Healey

FILE – In this April 1, 2021 file photo, Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey, right, responds to questions from reporters as U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., left, looks on during a news conference in Boston. Healey says Purdue Pharma’s plan to settle thousands of lawsuits over the U.S. opioid epidemic doesn’t go far enough to hold members of the Sackler family accountable for the crisis. It would preserve the vast majority of the wealth held by the family members who own the company that makes OxyContin. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

BOSTON (WWLP) – Attorney General Maura Healey Tuesday issued a warning to consumers to notify them of their rights and dealer obligations for car advertising and pricing. 

According to a statement from the AG’s office, the warning is meant to remind car dealers of their obligation to accurately advertise prices, honor advertised prices, and comply with consumer lease contract provisions. This warning comes as a wave of consumer complaints has been received by the Attorney General’s office; consumers are reporting that dealers are pulling a bait and switch where they advertise a specific price online, and in some cases go so far as to confirm this price over email, then jack up the price when consumers come in to make a purchase. Consumers have also reported that dealers would not honor buyout provisions in lease agreements.

“Purchasing a vehicle is a significant financial investment for many individuals and families,” said AG Healey. “After a surge in complaints to my office, we’re making sure consumers are aware of their rights under the law, and that auto dealerships know our office will take action against these deceptive sales tactics.”

Due to the pandemic, all car markets have noticed an increase demand for cars mixed with a supply shortage. This difference between supply and demand are causing reports of huge price hikes.

The warning by Healey’s office hope to address these concerns by reminding car dealers of their legal obligations to consumers including:

  • Dealerships can’t refuse to sell a vehicle for the price advertised.
  • It is unfair or deceptive for dealerships to post or advertise inaccurate prices or prices that the dealership will not honor.
  • It is unfair or deceptive for dealerships to make misrepresentations about the value of a vehicle.
  • Dealerships must clearly and conspicuously disclose all included and excluded charges in any advertised price of a vehicle as well as the expiration date of any advertised price.
  • Dealerships have legal obligations to honor the terms of any contract with a consumer regarding the lease of a vehicle, including a consumer’s right to purchase the vehicle.
  • Dealerships must comply with existing statutes, rules, regulations, and laws intended to provide protection to consumers.

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