Attorney General investigating deceptive ads by car dealerships

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) - Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill is asking Hoosiers to report deceptive ads from car dealers posing as private sellers on Craigslist.

Craigslist.com allows a seller to post either as a dealer or as a private party under “by owner.” Dealers are prohibited from advertising under “by owner" and when they do, the violate Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

According a consumer alert from the Attorney General's office on Monday, July 1, dealers typically mislead potential buyers by posting photos of vehicles parked in residential neighborhood settings rather than on dealer lots.

They list contact information as someone’s first name and cell number, and leave out the dealership’s phone number or address.

Once reached on their cellphones, dealership employees then direct potential buyers to their commercial lots in hopes that a caller interested in a specific vehicle will be agreeable to purchasing the vehicle from the dealer regardless of how the original contact was made.

The Office of the Attorney General is currently investigating multiple dealers who have engaged in such behavior.

Anyone who believes they have encountered deceptive ads on Craigslist or elsewhere is asked to file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at indianaconsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.