Car Dealership Problems – False Online Price Advertising

Watch the Video Below: Dealers in Maryland Use Low Online Prices to Lure Customers to the Dealership, and then Raise the Price.  It is no secret that buyers price shop new and used cars. Dealers take advantage of that and list a low price online. When the buyers shows up at the dealership, they use illegal fees such as “reconditioning” and “inspection” fees to justify the price increase.  The good news is, you can fight back.

Even if you were tricked into signing a contract with the increased price, you still have rights and can sue to get the difference back.  Whitney, LLP’s lawyers for car dealer problems help buyers fight back and sue dealers who increase prices and use bogus fees to cheat customers.

Whitney, LLP’s lawyers for car dealership problems help buyers fight back. Our auto dealer fraud lawyers have successfully sued new and used dealers across Maryland to unwind bad deals and recover compensation. Click Here to Read about our Top 10 Most Common Types of Cases against Car Dealers.

Click Here to read about past car dealer fraud settlements.
Click Here to read blogs about our other car dealer cases, including settlements and other lawsuits we filed.

We offer Legal Consultations. Call Whitney, LLP at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case.  Here is our YouTube Channel  for more videos on car dealer legal issues.

Car Dealership Problems – False Online Price Advertising

Edited Transcript is Below:

The issue of car dealerships using false low online prices in order to lure customers into the dealership happens all the time. And of course, once the customer arrives at the dealership, they’ve taken the time to drive there, look at the car and now they’re ready to buy.

All of a sudden that low price is not the price. The price can get increased by thousands of dollars. Customers often need a lawyer to deal with the dealership in order to get the original price.

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Dealer Increased the Advertised Price

This is a standard typical scheme that car dealers, especially here in Maryland, are very familiar with. Scheme may be too generous of a word. I would be able to call this a business practice with certainty for many of them, both new and used car dealers. And they do it all the time. And here’s what it looks like. On one of the car websites,,,, whichever, the car dealers put a nice low price on there designed to get a buyer’s attention, so when the buyer searches for the car in their area, that dealer’s car pops up at the top of the list for being the least expensive.

So of course, the customer gets excited and thinks they have found a deal and goes to the dealership. Once they arrive and they like the car and they kind of go down the path of getting ready to buy it, fees start to get added.

Reconditioning, Inspection and Other Illegal Fees

In Maryland, dealers are not allowed to increase advertised prices using “reconditioning” “inspection” or “finance charge” fees.  However, they do it all the time. 

Fees such as a reconditioning fee could be several thousand. Perhaps an inspection fee, maybe another thousand or 2,000. And there can be other fees. Now, what happens is, most states, including Maryland have a limit to the fees that can be added onto the advertised price. So for example, here in Maryland, say we’ve got an advertised price of $20,000.

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Maryland Law Limits Increases to the Advertised Price

The only fees that can be included as set forth in the advertisement are title and registration, tax, a dealer processing fee, which has to use the required legal disclosure language, which is set forth in law. And many of them don’t use that. And if it’s a new car, a freight charge. That’s it. So what that means is, when a customer goes into buy a car in Maryland and they’re told, “Oh, well, the car is 20,000, but there’s a reconditioning fee of 2,000. And there’s an inspection fee of 1,000.” Those are illegal charges.

Those fees are not legal. Dealers are not allowed to charge them, but they do it anyway. Why? Because they get away with it most of the time. Now, what customers need to realize is even if they were tricked into paying that price, they’ve still got several legal claims and can hire an attorney to file a lawsuit and sue the dealer.

Lawsuit Against Car Dealer for Price Increases

We’ve had several cases like that, where a customer goes in, there’s an advertisement and they qualify based on the terms of the advertisement. Usually it’s just saying, “This is the price that’s available to the general public.”

And they want to buy it. And they’re told some story, either there’s fees. Or another one that I hear a lot is, “Oh, you’ve got to be a member of the military or first responders.” Well, that’s simply not the case, unless there’s a rebate or incentive in which that actually is a criteria. But if that’s not a criteria, obviously a dealer cannot use that to lie to a customer and get them to pay more money. But this happens all the time.

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Daniel W. Whitney, Sr. and Daniel W. Whitney, Jr. of Whitney, LLP

Lawyers for Car Dealership Problems in Maryland – Whitney, LLP

As long as you’re able to produce the advertisement or use the internet to find the old advertisement, you will be able to produce evidence of the price.   You can use that evidence to bring a lawsuit and seek  compensation for what you were cheated out of, and perhaps more on top of that. So if you have a problem with the car dealer about false advertising, please feel free to give us a call.

We offer Legal Consultations. Call Whitney, LLP at 410 583 8000, or use our Quick Contact Form, to discuss your potential case.


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