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CORAOPOLIS CAR DEALER TO PAY $500 TO 78 CONSUMERS UNDER AGREEMENT

 CORAOPOLIS CAR DEALER TO PAY $500 TO 78 CONSUMERS UNDER AGREEMENT
 HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- An Allegheny County new- car dealership will pay $59,000 -- including restitution of $500 to each of 78 consumers -- to settle a suit filed in 1989 by Attorney General Ernie Preate Jr.
 The payment is required under an agreement negotiated with Airport Hyundai Inc., 876 Narrows Run Road, Coraopolis, Pa., and approved today by Allegheny County Common Pleas Court Judge I. Martin Wekselman.
 Preate's suit charged that in April 1988 the dealership conducted a deceptive promotional campaign in which it promised a "free" motor scooter, lawn mower or electric generator to each car buyer.
 "Claims of 'free' offers by businesses that negotiate selling prices are illusory and violate both Federal Trade Commission regulations and the state's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law," Preate said.
 The promotional campaign, the suit alleged, was simply a bargaining tool the dealership used to negotiate the price of new vehicles with consumers.
 Generally, the costs of "free" merchandise are recouped in the sales price of the vehicle in the form of a higher than usual "negotiated" price, the attorney general said.
 "Moreover, in this instance, we alleged that in some cases consumers were required to sign waivers relinquishing their right to the 'free' product prior to negotiating the price of a new Hyundai," Preate said.
 The suit also alleged that Airport Hyundai's advertisements failed to disclose that the promotional program was for a limited time and was subject to numerous conditions.
 Consumers allegedly were excluded from the program if they, for example, bought a demonstrator vehicle, received special financing, applied the value of a trade-in toward the purchase price of a new car or purchased a five-year/50,000-mile service warranty.
 Under terms of the agreement, Airport Hyundai will pay a $10,000 civil penalty, $10,000 in costs of investigation and $39,000 in restitution, representing $500 to each of 78 consumers who bought vehicles during the promotion.
 The agreement was filed by Deputy Attorney General Caren L. Mariani, attorney-in-charge of the Pittsburgh office of Preate's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Mariani said the bureau will handle distribution of the restitution to affected consumers.
 -0- 1/7/92
 /CONTACT: Jack J. Lewis of office of Pennsylvania Attorney General, 717-787-5211, or home at 717-657-9840/ CO: Pennsylvania Attorney General; Airport Hyundai Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU:


CD -- PG003 -- 7252 01/07/92 10:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 7, 1992
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