By Cheryl Fiandaca

BEDFORD (CBS) – Karen Sturzenacker didn’t have the best experience car shopping, telling the I-Team “Car buying is miserable. Car buying is generally miserable”

The Bedford woman said she went to a North Shore auto dealer after seeing an advertisement for the car she wanted at a good price.

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But when she got there, Sturzenacker said the dealership would not honor the price.

“The sales manager there quoted me a price somewhere near $29,000 despite the fact that I had a print out of their website that showed it was $26,000 and change,” she said.

Sturzenacker said the salesperson told her the ad was a mistake and the system didn’t update the new prices.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told the I-Team her office has received dozens of similar complaints like Sturzenacker’s. Healey said “It’s illegal for a dealership to advertise one price and you walk in the door and be told a different price. You have to be honest about the price you’re selling a car for. We heard certain dealers who are not complying with this.”

Low new and used car inventory along with a chip shortage has led to higher prices. In some cases consumers being asked to pay thousands over what’s called MSRP or the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

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Robert Okoniewski with the Massachusetts Auto Dealers Association said that is not price gouging.

“It’s supply and demand. It’s  the market forces at play lower supply higher demand you’re going to have higher prices same as the housing market,” Okoniewski said.

That’s not illegal as long as the salesperson discloses the true price. But not honoring an advertised price and not allowing people leasing cars to buy them is. The increase in complaints is prompting the attorney general to issue an advisory to consumers and auto dealers, saying “We will take action against deceptive sales tactics”

Sturzenacker said what happened to her “I just think it’s wrong. It’s wrong.”

In her case , the dealership manager called to apologize and offered to sell her the car at the advertised price.

“He said it was a mistake and a misunderstanding and I thought about it and said ‘I cannot reward you with buying the car and I went somewhere else.”

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The Massachusetts Auto Dealers Association said the supply of new cars isn’t expected to get better until the second half of 2022. The best advice if you are looking for a car is to do your homework and file a complaint with the attorney general if you believe you were the victim of deceptive advertising.

Cheryl Fiandaca