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Las Vegas car dealerships settle with FTC over deceptive ads

Updated Monday, June 29, 2015 | 5:24 p.m.

A Las Vegas car dealership accused of using deceptive ads reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission with the help of Nevada's former attorney general.

The FTC announced Monday that two dealerships — TC Dealership's Planet Hyundai and JS Autoworld's Planet Nissan — agreed to stop misrepresenting the cost to buy or lease a vehicle.

Federal officials said the two businesses indicated false or misleading purchase prices, monthly payments for purchases and leases and down payments in its advertisements.

Planet Nissan said the FTC complaint was the result of a human error in a November 2014 ad, according to George Chanos, who represents the company and negotiated the settlement. The Republican Chanos was appointed Nevada attorney general in 2006 to fill now-Gov. Brian Sandoval's term.

Multiple revisions on the single full-page ad were blamed for the inaccuracies and the company said it now has new policies and procedures in place so that there is an attorney review before any ads are made public.

"These ads go under multiple revisions — an offer may have changed from a purchase offer to a lease offer," Chanos said.

He also apologized to customers on behalf of the company and said there were no consumer complaints filed.

Planet Hyundai officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

There are no penalties imposed for either company, but a violation of the FTC settlement could come with a fine of up to $16,000 per day. Planet Nissan's John Staluppi Jr. said in a statement that the settlement did not include an admission of any wrongdoing.

The FTC will issue the final order following a 30-day public comment period on the proposed settlement.

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