Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Jan 15 2016

Claimed cars were subject to recall, appeared to be official notices

SEATTLE — Attorney General Bob Ferguson today announced that Kirkland car dealership will pay $74,000 to resolve allegations it sent out thousands of promotional mailers mimicking official recall notices.

Rairdon’s Dodge Chrysler Jeep of Kirkland agreed to pay $35,125 in civil penalties and $39,210 in costs and fees, for a total of $74,435.

“I will not tolerate a business driving sales by using scare tactics to dupe consumers into thinking their car has a safety problem,” Ferguson said. “Advertising needs to be clear and honest. When ads mislead consumers, my office will take action to hold violators accountable.”

The car dealer was accused of sending 7,025 mailers that looked very similar to the form used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall notifications, but were in fact promotional materials.

The mailers notified recipients of possible recalls and offered to purchase their vehicles, but failed to clearly and conspicuously disclose that the offer to buy was independent from any recall notification.

Such actions have the capacity to mislead a substantial number of consumers, and violate the state Consumer Protection Act.

To ensure the validity of all recall notices received, consumers can find official National Highway Traffic Safety Administration vehicle recall notices online at www.safercar.gov.

To learn more about lawful vehicle advertising, visit our website. Additional resources for auto dealers are available here.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.

Contact:

Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov