A Nashville auto dealer will have to change its marketing practices as a result of an agreement reached with the State of Tennessee to resolve deceptive marketing allegations, Attorney General Bob Cooper announced today.
A Davidson County Court approved the agreement between Gary Mathews Motors, LLC doing business as Gary Mathews Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Nashville with the Tennessee Attorney General's Office and the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs.
The agreement calls for the company to alter its alleged deceptive advertising practices arising from a May 2013 "Regional Clearance Event" mailer sent to consumers in Tennessee. The agreement calls for the Antioch-based company to stop making alleged misrepresentations in mailers sent to Tennesseans. It also requires the defendants to pay $10,000 to the State.
The State alleges that the defendant made numerous representations including specific monthly payments, financing offers, and prizes available to consumers. The State's investigation determined the mailer violated certain provisions of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act. Specifically, the State alleges Gary Mathews did not make the proper disclosures to the consumers. Gary Mathews denied wrongdoing in the settlement.
"It is crucial that when a consumer receives an advertisement from an automobile dealer that the advertisement is presented in a lawful manner and in such a way that the consumer is able to make an informed decision," Attorney General Cooper said. "Consumers should be presented all of the details when an item is offered as an incentive to purchase an automobile."
Under the settlement, Gary Mathews is permanently enjoined from offering a prize without clearly disclosing the approximate retail price of each prize and the odds of winning such prize. Additionally, Gary Mathews is prohibited from promoting specific monthly and down payments next to pictures of automobiles that are not included in the financing offer.
Department of Commerce and Insurance Deputy Commissioner Steven Majchrzak stated, "Consumers receiving a mail advertisement that they believe is unfair or deceptive should file a complaint with the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting tn.gov/consumer or calling 615-741-4737 or 800-342-8385 (inside Tennessee)."