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Is $0 down really true?

When you see ads for vehicles, both on the internet and in other mediums, you may see a fair amount that claim you don't have to pay anything up front, saying you'll pay $0 down.

The allure here is clear. People may have enough income every month to make the payments, but they haven't saved up anything for a down payment. That could take months. They need the car now. An offer like that gives them a vehicle that really fits the budget.

As such, if it's not actually true, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that the advertising could be deemed fraudulent. It misleads consumers. It's not entirely honest. If there are undisclosed charges -- significant ones -- then the advertising is overselling the promise of driving off without paying anything up front.

The FTC does say that the charges have to be significant. That could be a key point in a lawsuit.

Naturally, false advertising may not result in a sale. If you're looking for a vehicle because you don't have any cash on hand, and then they ask you to pay despite the claims of the advertisements, you still may be unable to pay. However, even if you can't, the false advertising could be deemed illegal. It still got you into the dealership under false pretenses and therefore wasn't fair to other dealerships that are advertising their actual terms.

Do you think that you were scammed by a car dealership that hid the real price in the ads? If so, you may want to look into your legal options.

Source: FTC, "Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road," accessed May 31, 2017

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