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Driver Beware; Concerned Calls Put Brakes on Automobile Ads

DALLAS -- Recent advertisements in Auto Trader and major metropolitan newspapers offering automobile sales through a company calling itself "Exchange Inc." has consumers calling the Army & Air Force Exchange Service for answers.

"Based on phone calls we've received, it appears someone is using the Exchange's trademarked logo and name without permission to purportedly sell vehicles in the United States," said the Exchange's Loss Prevention Vice President Rick Koloski. "The phone calls we're getting are from consumers who inquired as to whether the advertisements were legitimate. One caller did tell us that they had placed an order, sent money, but had yet to take delivery."

Despite the fact that military exchanges do not have the authority to sell vehicles in the continental United States, the individuals responsible for these advertisements have left consumers from Texas to Colorado with the impression they are doing business with the Department of Defense's oldest and largest exchange service.

"We really don't know how widespread the issue is at this point as the investigation is ongoing," said Koloski. "In the meantime, we want consumers to be aware of the concern."

Army and Air Force Exchange Service facilities are located solely on military installations. While the Exchange does have mail order and Internet offerings, the Exchange does not advertise in civilian outlets such as metropolitan newspapers or automobile sales magazines. All advertisements for legitimate Exchange offerings are published in outlets whose audiences are mostly comprised of military members.