By Marcos Nelson Suarez
For the past few months, we have been receiving complaints about alleged misleading advertising on sites like “Car Gurus” or “Cars.com,” just to mention a few.
This week we decided to run a test and contact some of these advertisers on those websites who are selling cars at a very low price.
The first car we searched was the 2013 Nissan Rogue, which had about 45,000 miles and an advertised price of a little less than $10,000 on .
I made a request online and a sales person contacted me via e-mail. A few hours later, I visited the showroom at Lonestar Toyota of Lewisville.
After looking at the car, I requested the final price of the vehicle including taxes and title.
I was taken by surprise by the figure that the salesperson came out with: over $18,000.
After seeing the number, I just left the dealership.
The following is the explanation the sales rep sent me via e-mail.
“Sorry that you were not pleased with the numbers of the vehicle. I was definitely wanting to explain to you why the price was what it was before you began to exit. The $9,996 price was what we got the vehicle for and it comes straight over from our dealer to the website and that is not the actual selling price, unfortunately. There is also a reconditioning fee that was charged for this vehicle for when we get it off the line to either do tires, dent repair, cracked windows, paint, interior, detail, etc whatever the vehicle may have needed. Another great thing about the price was that the warranty for the vehicle is included.”
“…is not the actual selling price“…. says the e-mail.
The question is, why advertise a car with a price that is not the actual price?
Next, I requested information on a 2013 Buick Encore Base with a listed price of $10,000 and 83,000 miles from Crest Cadillac.
Again, the price advertised is $10,000 and of course, the tax and licensing fees are not included.
$10,000 sales price.
This is the explanation from the sales rep:
$698 for tint and nitrogen filled tires with a lifetime warranty.
$345 for the title and license part of sales tax.
$668 for sales tax.
This was not as bad as the Nissan, but still, it was another charge that was not explained in the ad.
I checked two other offers from different dealerships with more or less similar results.
The whole business seems to be based on deceptive advertising.
Perhaps it is time for the Office of the Consumer Protection of the Attorney General of Texas to look into these practices, and at the same time, advertisers like www.cargurus.com or Cars.com to demand some truth in advertising from their clients.