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Illinois AG sues area dealership over advertising practices

August 21, 2020
The Illinois attorney general’s office is suing a north suburban Chicago dealership for unfair and deceptive advertising and business practices, the office announced Aug. 12.
The dealership, which six years ago entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance with the AG’s office over another matter, faces extensive civil penalties over the recent alleged practices.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul said the dealership violated its AVC by continuing to engage in acts or practices that violate the law, and the lawsuit seeks to rescind all contracts entered into with consumers when unlawful methods were used.  The dealership also would have to pay full restitution to the customers.
"(The dealership) knowingly and repeatedly took advantage of people through deceptive advertising — even after entering into an agreement with the attorney general’s office to stop using unlawful practices," Raoul said. "I am committed to seeking enforcement against businesses and individuals who violate the law to take advantage of Illinois consumers."
Raoul alleges the dealership further violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act by deceptively using fake checks and coupons in its advertisements, failing to disclose a consumer’s potential responsibility for negative equity on a trade-in, failing to promptly pay off a loan on a traded-in vehicle, and advertising loan opportunities to those facing bankruptcy.
The dealership advertises through various media including its own website, third-party websites, newspapers, and direct mailers. The attorney general’s office opened an investigation into the dealership in 2014 after receiving complaints from consumers who were unable to purchase vehicles advertised by the dealership.
Consumers alleged that upon visiting the dealership to buy a vehicle seen in advertisements, sales representatives would say the advertised vehicle was already sold, then try to sell customers a different vehicle instead. In addition, consumers alleged that they continued to see the same vehicle in advertisements for weeks afterwards.