February 27, 2018
20th Judicial District
District Attorney Michael Dougherty
Community Protection Division: 303-441-3700
Consumer Advisory from District Attorney Stan Garnett
(Boulder County, Colo.) -- Boulder County residents have reported to the Community
Protection Division of the District Attorney’s Office that they have been unable to
buy used cars at local dealerships for the prices those dealers offered at online
car-shopping marketplaces such as Autotrader or Carfax. According to an article in the Boulder Daily
Camera on February 16, 2018, one potential buyer was unable to purchase a used
car at a local dealership for the price that the dealer had advertised on
Carfax. Instead, the price quoted at the
dealership was significantly more than the price the buyer had located online.
Intentionally publishing or circulating any advertising that
is misleading or inaccurate is a violation of Colorado’s motor vehicle
law. There are steps you can take if you
feel you were subjected to intentional “bait and switch” pricing tactics when you
tried to purchase a car:
- Contact the general manager or owner of the
dealership, and explain the problem.
- If the dealership does not satisfactorily
resolve the problem, you may file a written complaint with Colorado’s Auto
Industry Division. You can find
information and access to the Auto Industry Division’s complaint form at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/enforcement/filing-complaint-auto-industry-division. You can also obtain a complaint form by
calling them at (303) 205-5604.
- File a complaint with the Better
Business Bureau of Denver and Boulder.
Information and access to their complaint form can be found at https://www.bbb.org/consumer-complaints/file-a-complaint/get-started.
The BBB can be reached at (303) 758-2100.
The District Attorney’s office advises car buyers to check
out the legitimacy of any ad prior to making a purchase, and the Community
Protection Division staff and volunteers are willing to help check the
reputation of any company or offer. For
further information or help, contact the Community Protection Division at (303)