WASHINGTON — Beware of car dealer ads that promise to pay off the loan on your trade-in.

In a first-of-its-kind case, the Federal Trade Commission is targeting five car dealers in four states. Regulators say the dealers deceived consumers by promising to pay off their loans, no matter what was owed on the cars. But the FTC says the balance was usually rolled right into the new car loan. One dealer later required customers to pay it out of pocket.

Settlements with the dealers – in South Dakota, North Carolina, Connecticut and West Virginia – will require them to stop running the ads on their webpages and other sites such as YouTube.

The FTC has brought cases against auto dealers before, but not for this kind of advertising.

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