An official complaint has been filed against Swickard in Anchorage Superior Court, accusing the auto group of false advertising tactics. The Alaska Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) received three complaints alleging that Swickard advertised vehicles it did not have, advertised unavailable interest rates, and failed to honor advertised prices.
In response, Swickard stated that their decision to advertise in-transit and shared inventory vehicles was meant to provide visibility of upcoming vehicles to their Alaska customers. However, an employee from the AG found it frustrating and opened an official complaint. Swickard claims that over 100 transactions were reviewed and no additional complaints or violations were found.
The complaint is seeking $25,000 for each violation of Alaska’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, along with an injunction to prevent Swickard from using deceptive practices.
Attorney General Taylor emphasized the importance of protecting consumers from illegal advertising and sales practices that make purchasing a car more difficult. He stated that unscrupulous dealerships should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage over their competitors.
Further comments from the attorney general’s office were not received, except for an email directing inquiries to the department’s press office.
Swickard Auto owns eight dealerships in Alaska, selling various brands including Chevrolet, GMC, Buick, Cadillac, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, and Porsche.
The first complaint alleges that a truck advertised with a 0% interest rate for $60,000 increased to 3.89% once a customer agreed to buy it at Swickard Chevrolet. Swickard claimed that the advertisement was mistakenly placed in the vehicle.
At Audi Anchorage, a customer wanted to purchase an Audi A4 for the advertised rate of $36,295. However, the price jumped to $49,000 due to additional fees and packages. Swickard blamed an “overzealous salesperson.”
The last complaint was filed by Joshua Smith, an investigator with Alaska’s Department of Law. Smith visited the Swickard Volkswagen of Anchorage website and was interested in a vehicle that was advertised but not available. Swickard claimed to have recently purchased the dealership and was dealing with website issues during the transition.
Smith decided not to buy a car and submitted a complaint. Swickard claimed that the advertisement was a bona-fide error and that Smith should have known the price was incorrect.
In a similar experience in March 2023, Smith returned to the store and a salesperson suggested that false advertising may have been used to drive foot traffic. Swickard acknowledged that their communication about availability and logistics could have been improved, but they believe that the single complaint was addressed and resolved to the customer’s satisfaction.
Swickard Auto is ranked No. 48 on Automotive News’ list of the top 150 U.S. dealership groups. The auto retailer owns dealerships in Oregon, California, Texas, Washington, and Alaska. They recently acquired three more dealerships in California and expanded their presence with Anderson Holdings.
Denial of responsibility! SamacharCentrl is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
Omprakash Tiwary is a business writer who delves into the intricacies of the corporate world. With a focus on finance and economic landscape. He offers readers valuable insights into market trends, entrepreneurship, and economic developments.