The Office of the Attorney General alleged that, in its advertisements, Moto Cars USA LLC represented its vehicles as being sold by private parties selling their personal vehicles. Dealers are explicitly prohibited from advertising as individual owners under Craigslist’s terms of service.
“Hoosier consumers deserve honest, transparent information when purchasing a motor vehicle,” Attorney General Rokita said. “I am pleased that this dealer has agreed to truthfully advertise its vehicles online, and I am comforted knowing that Hoosiers who buy vehicles through this dealer will now be given accurate information, which is essential when making such a substantial purchase. We will continue to take action against entities engaging in bad business practices on behalf of consumers across Indiana.”
Moto Cars misleadingly listed its vehicles to lure consumers who preferred to do business with private sellers over dealerships, the Office alleged. Moto Cars’ advertisements pictured vehicles parked on residential streets rather than on a dealership’s lot, further creating the impression the vehicles were being sold by their private sellers. Additionally, the ads instructed consumers interested in the vehicles to “call Dave at…” and listed a private cell phone number, rather than the dealer’s phone number. The Craigslist advertisements did not reference Moto Cars in any way.
This behavior constituted a violation of Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, the Office alleged. As part of an agreement with the Office, Moto Cars agreed to prominently represent in advertising that its vehicles are being sold by Moto Cars, and to cease advertising in the “For Sale by Owner” section of Craigslist. Moto Cars also agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty.