Iowa’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a Louisiana company, charging it uses “deceptive” ads to lure buyers to used-car sales events in Iowa. The attorney general says the ads devised by “Smart Automotive Group” tricked consumers into thinking they were paying bargain-basement prices for used cars and trucks that had been seized or repossessed.

According to the attorney general, though, the vehicles were actually coming from the dealers’ regular inventory. The lawsuit charges that the sales ads used deceptive headlines like “Emergency Disposal Event” but consumers sometimes didn’t get a bargain. Instead, they paid prices that were “even higher than normal.”

Officials say the company helped stage these kind of deceptive sales at dealerships in Des Moines, Bloomfield and Marshalltown in the past three years. The lawsuit asks for a fine of up to 40-thousand dollars for each vehicle sale the attorney general questions.

State officials filed a similar lawsuit against an Ohio company engaged in the same kind of alleged trickery and, in 2006, that company agreed to stop such practices.