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BBB questions dealers' claims of 'No. 1' in their advertisements

June 7, 2013
For a dealership, touting its status as being No. 1 in sales volume can help attract customers, so high-volume dealers want to communicate that information to consumers in their marketplaces. However, dealers also are concerned that some of their counterparts in the same market make No. 1 claims without proper support.
The Chicago office of the Better Business Bureau has long advised dealers both at seminars and in conversations that No. 1 claims should be made only under specific circumstances and should be based on the full geography of reports rather than part of one. 
“No. 1 claims should not be made as an inference of being No. 1 in an area because the actual No. 1 dealer listed in the report is located a distance away from the claiming dealer,” said Patricia Kelly, senior counsel at the BBB-Chicago. “Dealers have made No. 1 claims when their market area is smaller than that covered by a report and where one or more other dealers in a different area of the report do have higher sales. 
“Dealers have selected certain smaller geographic areas out of the larger geographic area that is actually the subject of the report.”
Kelly said the BBB advises against that practice. No. 1 claims should be made based only on the full geography of a report not part of it. Making claims based upon smaller geographic areas can lead to confusion and competitive problems. 
Therefore, the BBB reinforces the position set forth several years ago, and widely communicated, that all No. 1 claims must be based on the full geography of a current report. In addition, the report should be recent, either the prior year’s total sales, or registrations, or the current year-to-date sales or registrations. 
The BBB also advises that it is in the best interests of dealers to clearly and conspicuously disclose the report, upon which the claim is based, in the advertisement where the claim is made.
“We hope,” said Kelly, “that when dealers make No. 1 claims this way, that all such claims will be truthful and not confusing to the public as well as fair to other dealers.”