The feeling of being had by a car dealer ad can be maddening. An 83-year old man is facing assault charges after being caught on video allegedly attacking employees at a Sarasota, Florida dealership over a promotion prize dispute. As I always tell you on the air, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Oh, and read the fine print before wasting your time.
Linsey Owens thought he was going to get a prize that was highlighted in a mailed advertisement, according to a Sarasota Police Department press release you can read here. He is accused of becoming enraged and wielding a golf club after sales staff informed him that he would have to buy a vehicle to receive the prize.
The salesperson who delivered the bad news allegedly suffered minor injuries from being hit on the face and arms with the golf club. He even managed to get video of the attack and showed it to police. Officers later arrested Owens at his home and charged with several counts of aggravated battery.
This is the video of an 83 yo man attaching a car salesman in Sarasota last night pic.twitter.com/eMXbrjbMOd
— John Rogers (@WFLAJohn) December 29, 2016
Many dealers have been criticized for using misleading advertisements and promotions to bring potential customers in the door, in some cases prompting enforcement action from the Federal Trade Commission. There is no indication that the advertising campaign that prompted the Florida incident ran afoul of the law, however. Florida laws on advertising are some of the most lenient in the country, but dealers must adhere to both local and Federal guidelines, or they can face stiff fines.
“Details about special offers and promotions may be buried in the fine print, clicks away from online claims, may not be disclosed at all, or may not be disclosed until you get to the showroom or the finance office,” the FTC warns in a general cautionary note for buyers. “The law requires that if a dealer advertises discounts, prices, or special low payments, the ads must clearly explain the important details of the offers and how a buyer may qualify for them.”
The FTC has levied some heavy fines against car dealers the past few years for hiding pertinent information is small print.