For Immediate Release - July 31, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley Reaches $110,000 Settlement with Boch Imports, Inc. Over Misleading Advertisements

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office reached an agreement with Boch Imports, Inc. ("Boch") resolving allegations that the automobile dealer used deceptive prices in its print, television, and radio advertisements. The Attorney General's Office filed an Assurance of Discontinuance in Suffolk Superior Court under the Consumer Protection Act and Boch has agreed to change its advertising practices and to pay $55,000 in civil penalties and costs and $55,000 to the Local Consumer Aid Fund.

"This settlement addresses the important issue of misleading advertising in the automobile sales industry," said Attorney General Coakley. "The Boch settlement is one of a number of agreements reached with several dealerships throughout the Commonwealth and should serve as a reminder that consumers deserve to receive accurately disclosed price information so that they can make well-informed decisions when purchasing a car."

In addition to the monetary payments, Boch has agreed to refrain from advertising practices that mislead consumers about the actual price of vehicles. This settlement specifically prohibits the use of "asterisk pricing," a practice where a dealer prominently advertises a price with an asterisk and, in small print at the bottom of the ad, indicates that the advertised price presumes that the consumer will be providing a certain amount of money in cash or trade, for example, "$6300 in cash or trade." This misleading practice makes the prominently advertised price artificially low and not actually available. The Assurance of Discontinuance also requires Boch to fully comply with the Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Regulations on Advertising of Motor Vehicles, and to refrain from any other form of unfair or deceptive advertising consistent with the Consumer Protection Act. The Assurance applies to Boch Imports as well as all auto dealerships owned or controlled by Ernest Boch, Jr. The Boch dealerships cooperated with the Attorney General's investigation.

Today's agreement is part of an initiative by the Attorney General's Office to target false and misleading advertising practices throughout the Commonwealth's auto dealer industry. Since last year, the Attorney General's Office has filed Assurances of Discontinuance in Suffolk Superior Court with the following fifteen auto dealerships and has collected a total of $295,000 in civil penalties:

  • The Herb Chambers Companies
  • Quirk Works, Inc.
  • Ira Motor Group
  • Kelly Automotive Group
  • The Colonial Dealerships (Colonial Nissan of Medford, Inc., Wellesley Buick-Volkswagen, Inc. d/b/a Wellesley Volkswagen, and Colonial Chrysler Jeep, Inc.)
  • Connolly Buick Co., Inc.
  • Liberty Motorcar, Inc. (formerly 128 Mazda)
  • Village Automotive Group
  • Clay Nissan
  • Peter Fuller Enterprises
  • Lawless Chrysler Jeep, Inc.
  • Nissan Automobiles of Marlborough, Inc.
  • R C Olsen Cadillac, Inc.
  • Saturn of Medford a/k/a York Saturn, Inc.
  • South Shore Imported Cars, Inc.

Consumers who have a complaint or concern with an auto dealership are encouraged to contact the Attorney General's Consumer Hotline at 617-727-8400 or visit the office's website at www.mass.gov/ago to file a complaint online.

Assistant Attorney General April English of Attorney General Coakley's Consumer Protection Division is handling these cases with assistance from the Investigations Division.

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