A used-car dealership in Fishers, Moto Cars USA LLC, has agreed to pay a $5,000 civil penalty for what Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita called deceptive sales practices, although the dealer says the incident was a one-time occurrence.
“Moto Cars misleadingly listed its vehicles to lure consumers who preferred to do business with private sellers over dealerships,” Rokita’s office said in a statement issued Thursday morning.
According to the statement, Moto Cars “deceptively advertised its vehicles on Craigslist and other online platforms,” featuring photos of the cars parked on residential streets rather than a dealer’s lot. Customers were also instructed to call an individual’s private cell phone number, the statement says.
“The Craigslist advertisements did not reference Moto Cars in any way,” the statement alleges.
But Moto Cars owner Greg Armstrong said this happened only once, involving a vehicle listed for sale by one of his salespeople. “It was definitely something that was a one-time thing,” he said.
Armstrong said he suspects another dealer in town brought the matter to the Attorney General’s attention. “I think it was a targeted situation, to be honest with you.”
As part of the settlement, Moto Cars, 11771 Technology Drive, agreed to pay half of the penalty up front, with the other half due in two equal payments in six and 12 months.
The dealership also agreed not to advertise its cars on Craigslist.com’s “for sale by owner” section or to otherwise represent that its vehicles were for sale by owner rather than by Moto Cars.