Along with nine other dealerships, a Ford dealership in Fowlerville, Michigan is in hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on the grounds of deceptive marketing techniques.
Although a dealer in Massachussetts is fighting the charges, Fowlerville Ford is being singled out here because it hasn’t reached settlements with the FTC. Fowlerville will not be fighting because it is too expensive to do so.
“While it could have appealed the FTC’s conclusions through the administrative and court systems, the cost of appealing would have been prohibitive,” the dealership said in a written statement Friday. “Therefore, Fowlerville Ford agreed to the consent order.”
The store added that it hired an outside marketing team three years ago to help with running a sales promotion program, which included an opportunity for customers to win a prize if a ticket matched a certain number. As usual, the odds of winning weren’t very good, but the FTC decided that the disclosure was not specific enough in its assessment, even though no regulations were printed to define what kind of disclosure was required.
Furthermore, the FTC accused the dealership of failing to clearly disclose the repayment terms of many of its used car offers. The dealership responded in tandem, stating it was approached by a TV station that promised to film an ad. After about a year-and-a-half, the FTC came knocking, stating that it was not in technical compliance with one of the regulations because the ad didn’t specifically mention “annual percentage rate” and instead used “percentage rate”. The dealership quickly changed the term it used.