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AG Settles in Case of Deceptive Advertising
May 6, 2008
Attorney General Steve Rowe announced today that the State has entered into a Consent Decree with Level 10 Marketing, Inc., a New Orleans corporation, and Newcastle Chrysler Dodge Jeep of Newcastle Maine. The Consent Decree, which was signed by Kennebec County Superior Court, prohibits the two companies from using unfair and deceptive advertisements or practices such as sales “vouchers” which appear to promise “$4,000 Instant Savings” when in fact such savings are not realized. Further, neither Level 10 nor Newcastle Chrysler can use promises of significant savings unless such savings can be documented, including the following:
• “Will be sacrificed for pennies on the dollar;” • “Save up to 90% off original M.S.R.P.;” • “Prices will be slashed for immediate liquidation;” • “Wholesale pricing direct to the public.”
“As part of this Consent Decree, 22 consumers who purchased vehicles at the sale will each receive a refund of $550,” Rowe said.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division investigated the purchases made at the Level 10/Newcastle Chrysler sale held November 14 through November 18, 2006. It found that consumers did not receive the promised savings. “During this sale, many consumers paid non-sale prices despite promises of ‘wholesale prices’ that had allegedly been ‘slashed for immediate liquidation’” Attorney General Rowe said.
Level 10 designed the advertising flyer that was sent out in Newcastle Chrysler’s name and it also arranged for a team of salespeople to travel to Maine to deal with potential customers during the November, 2006 “sale”.
Both Level 10 and Newcastle Chrysler are now subject to a Court order that prohibits such deceptive advertising techniques in the future. Neither company admitted to any wrongdoing. Pursuant to the Court Order, both Newcastle and Level 10 must pay a civil penalty of $6,250 and refund to consumers part of the purchase price.
The State of Maine’s rules governing advertisements can be found at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules.
NEWS RELEASE May 6, 2008 Jim McKenna, AAG (207) 626-8842 David Loughran, (207) 626-8577