Federal Trade Commission v. Universal City Nissan

$3.5 million in fines


Sage Auto coerced users to sign different contracts, charged for unauthrosied add-ons and faked its reviews.

Our analysis

FTC took action against the Sage Auto Group for employing deceptive tactics in their auto sales and financing practices. The defendants utilized "yo-yo" financing tactics, pressuring consumers who had already signed contracts and driven off the dealership lots into accepting different, less favorable deals.
-They also added unauthorized charges for aftermarket products and services to consumers' car financing agreements. The defendants enticed consumers, including financially distressed and non-English speaking individuals, through various forms of advertising, including print, internet, radio, and television, making misleading claims about vehicle availability, low prices, low monthly payments, and low down payments.
-Additionally, they deceptively offered lease agreements as purchase options and falsely claimed they would pay off consumers' trade-in vehicles when consumers remained responsible for any outstanding amounts.
-Furthermore, the defendants were alleged to have used fraudulent online reviews to promote their dealerships and discredit negative feedback related to their illegal practices. They and their agents posted positive, five-star reviews that appeared to be from impartial reviewers but failed to disclose their affiliation with the dealerships.
These deceptive practices violated Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45, and encompassed forced actions, fake social proof, and hidden costs.


As a case outcome, the Sage Auto Group and its owners are ordered to pay $3.5 million in fines and are prohibited from making misrepresentations related to the sale, financing, or leasing of vehicles, addressing deceptive and unfair sales and financing tactics.


Federal Trade Commission and Universal City Nissan

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