Dick's Auto of Hillsboro agreed to settle with the Oregon Department of Justice over a complaint filed by Albany man for inflating the cost of his new Dodge Ram.
Dealers can only advertise discounts based on the manufacturer's suggest retail price, also known as the MSRP, but Dick's Auto advertised discounts on the market value.
"Dick’s would inflate the MSRP and post it in advertisements as “market value,” so it would appear consumers were receiving a large discount," says Justice spokeswoman Kristina Edmunson.
Jim Claflin found a good deal online but when he drove up from Albany, Dick's Auto didn't honor the price. The dealership agreed to reimburse Claflin $1,399 after he filed a complaint with the Oregon Department of Justice. Dick's also paid an $8,000 fine to the DOJ for deceptive business practices.
Dick's Auto did not return a call seeking comment.
"I wanted to be sure the deal was what the deal was," Claflin says of his plan to buy a truck. "I got an email back saying, 'yes this is the price.' Five hours later they said this isn't really the price."
Claflin says the finance manager slipped in $399 to the price that he didn't even notice. He called the company the next day to complain, but never got a call back, so he filed a complaint with the DOJ. He was startled when he discovered he was getting a refund from the company.
"They won't be seeing me again," he says. "Not even for my free oil change."