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BBB continues to see rebate infraction in ads

November 23, 2010
When an advertisement sets out some component of the purchase price, either by stating a monthly payment and/or a certain percent of savings off the MSRP, the advertisement must clearly and conspicuously disclose the vehicle's purchase price. The purchase price is considered a material term which therefore cannot be omitted as a result of the aforementioned. Steve Bernas, vice president of operations for the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois, manages a review program of dealer ads for compliance with the state's motor vehicle advertising regulations. Bernas said the necessary disclosure described above is the most prevalent infraction lately. Certain manufactures currently offer programs through captive finance companies whereby the consumer can elect to participate with 0 percent interest or a rebate of $1,500 to $,3000 rebate-or in some instances, both. However, remember that this rebate is considered limited in scope; not everyone will qualify for that program. The advertisement would have to comply with Section 475.530 of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations, concerning rebates. The availability of the rebate can be advertised if the terms and limitations are clearly and conspicuously disclosed. However, it is an unfair or deceptive act for any dealer to advertise a price in which limited rebates have been deducted, or for a manufacturer or a dealer association to total the limited rebate with the general rebate. Questions or concerns about any current advertising practices can be directed to Bernas at 312-245-2514 or Bernas's e-mail address correlates with the Better Business Bureau's Web site,, which contains the state's up-to-date advertising regulations. All correspondence remains confidential in accordance with the current BBB/CATA Ad Review Program. Also make sure to disseminate these BBB tips to all personnel responsible for creating any dealer advertisements