Miller and six state attorneys general allege vehicle marketing firm owner and former company misrepresented sales events
(DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge has barred the owner of a defunct Louisiana vehicle sales marketing firm from advertising, selling, and leasing used or new vehicles in Iowa.
District Judge Robert A. Hutchison today permanently enjoined and restrained David J. Bottner, 40, of Slidell, Louisiana, and his defunct company, Level 10 Marketing Inc., from engaging in any conduct in connection with the sale, lease, or advertisement of vehicles in Iowa. Judges in six other states issued similar court orders, called consent judgments.
Records filed with the Louisiana Secretary of State show that Bottner, president of Level 10 Marketing, dissolved the company in September.
“This boils down to an out-of-state marketer who came into Iowa on behalf of local dealers. He drummed up business by concocting bogus ‘urgent’ sales events, and people showed up to these events because of misrepresentations, false claims and omissions,” said Miller.
According to a petition Miller filed today in Polk County District Court, Bottner and his company misrepresented vehicle sales events on behalf of Iowa vehicle dealers by falsely claiming or implying that the sales events involved vehicles brought in from elsewhere for the sale. Level 10 Marketing advertised local dealers’ sales events using misleading terms such as “lender’s inventory sale” or “repossessed vehicle event,” and used other misleading terms conveying a false sense of urgency, such as “emergency disposal,” and “liquidation.”
Company advertisements also claimed that used vehicles would be sold at “90 percent off original price,” which was actually a comparison with the Manufacturer’s Retail Price (MSRP) of the vehicle when new, according to the petition, and falsely claimed that “some vehicles will be available for $1 down, $114 per month.” The advertisements, according to the petition, misrepresented the cost of the vehicles and the ability of consumers to obtain financing.
Miller also alleged that the company misrepresented prize promotions designed to entice consumers into attending the sales events.
Beyond its marketing conduct, according to the petition, the defendants provided client dealerships additional sales staff during these sales events, including a sales director, sales closer, a finance manager and insurance manager. The defendants directly or in concert with the dealerships, negotiated sales terms.
“Dealers and others who work on their behalf have a responsibility to be straightforward with their advertising and sales tactics,” said Miller. “Our state’s consumer laws require it.”
Bottner and his former company deny the allegations. As part of the settlement the state agreed to a suspended $40,000 penalty from Bottner and his former company. The defendants will not have to pay the penalty if they comply with the court order.
Miller joined attorneys general from Arizona, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania in this multistate action. Attorneys general in Maine and Washington have previously taken action against the defendants.
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