(Phoenix, Ariz. – Nov. 17, 2005) Attorney General Terry Goddard today announced a settlement with Scottsdale Suzuki Superstore and its successor corporation, Suzuki of Tempe, for falsely advertising minimum trade-ins and placing misleading information about “dealer installed accessories and service charges” on the window stickers of new cars.
The consent agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office last February against the Tempe-based dealership. The lawsuit alleged that the dealer falsely advertised minimum trade-in amounts and didn’t provide all the accessories listed on window stickers.
The settlement requires the dealership to pay the Attorney General’s Office $50,000. The money will be used to pay for consumer education, attorneys’ fees and investigation costs. The settlement also requires future advertisements to be clear, truthful and non-misleading.
The lawsuit alleged that Scottsdale Suzuki Superstore ran television and print ads that indicated the dealership would guarantee a minimum of $5,000 for a trade-in during a sales campaign in May 2004. Small print appearing briefly onscreen and at the bottom of the newspaper ads stated that the offer applied when customers purchased vehicles in the “service area.” There were only four or five used vehicles in the service area for which a consumer could receive the advertised minimum trade.
According to the complaint filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, a consumer went into the dealership to take advantage of the $5,000 trade-in and was turned down. She eventually purchased a 2004 Suzuki Forenza, including the “Dealer Installed Accessories and Service Charges.” The lawsuit alleges that days later she realized she had not received accessories listed on the window sticker worth about $2,000.
The consent agreement requires:
- Scottsdale Suzuki Superstore/Suzuki of Tempe to advertise only in a clear, conspicuous, truthful and non-misleading manner.
- The dealership to discontinue advertising minimum trade-ins or other offers that appear to be generally available unless they are generally available.
- The dealership to discontinue listing accessories or services on the sticker price unless those accessories and services are actually included in the price of the car.
The settlement also requires the dealership to pay restitution of $1,517 to the consumer who did not receive the accessories listed on the car sticker.
In January 2005, Scottsdale Suzuki Superstore sold its dealership assets in Scottsdale, and its successor corporation, Suzuki of Tempe, Inc., opened a new dealership in Tempe, under the name Suzuki of Tempe. Scottsdale Suzuki Superstore and Suzuki of Tempe are not associated with the owners of a dealership currently operating as Scottsdale Suzuki.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud, please contact the Arizona Attorney General's Office at 602.542.5763 in Phoenix; 520.628.6504 in Tucson; or 1.800.352.8431 outside the metro areas. You can also file an online complaint by visiting the Web site at www.azag.gov.