In the FTC crackdown dubbed "Operation Steer Clear," the dealers are accused of misrepresenting prices, finances, payment options and up-front payments in print, video and online advertisements.
Casino Auto Sales of La Puente and Rainbow Auto Sales of South Gate allegedly ran deceptive advertising telling consumers they could purchase vehicles at specific low prices when the price was $5,000 higher. Both dealers' ads involved a mix of English and Spanish.
Honda of Hollywood and Norm Reeves Honda of Cerritos advertised that consumers could pay no money up front to lease a vehicle, not disclosing that excluded substantial fees and other amounts. The ads also allegedly failed to disclose certain lease-related terms. Norm Reeves Honda's ads also failed to disclose certain credit-related terms.
The dealers agreed to consent orders issued by the FTC, prohibiting them from further misrepresentation in advertisements or similar deceptive practices. They are also required to "clearly and conspicuously" disclose terms.
Dealers in Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan and Texas were also charged.