Four car dealerships in western Massachusetts have agreed to pay $175,000 over allegations that they published “misleading advertising’’ and failed to follow through with sale prices and promotions.
Attorney General Martha Coakley announced Wednesday, June 18, that Country Nissan in Hadley, Country Hyundai in Northampton, Northampton Volkswagen, and Patriot Buick GMC in Charlton allegedly ran “deceptive advertising campaigns’’ on TV, radio, the dealership’s websites, and social media.
The settlement resolves allegations against the dealerships’ owners and operators Carla Cosenzi of Longmeadow and Thomas Cosenzi of West Springfield, along with their affiliated companies, Tommy-Car Management Corp., Tommy-Car Corp., Tommy Car Advertising Inc., T & C Auto Corp., Country Hyundai, Inc., and Patriot Buick GMC, Inc.
The settlement apparently shows that the AG’s office received complaints about the dealerships’ advertising, so they launched an investigation, allegedly finding that the dealerships were using “bait and switch’’ methods of advertising, meaning they published advertisements meant to entice customers into the showroom for sales and promotions that were not actually offered.
The AG’s office also alleges that the companies failed to pay advertised prices for trade-in vehicles and to disclose all of the conditions surrounding those offers.
According to the settlement, the defendants must pay the Commonwealth $175,000 over six months and refrain from deceptive advertising practices in the future.