FTC Consumer Alert
By Colleen Tressler
July 9, 2022, 2022
Over the past ten years, the FTC has brought more than 50 auto-related law enforcement actions. Despite these actions, deceptive advertising and unlawful add-on sales continue to cause people to spend thousands of dollars more on what’s already among the most expensive purchases of a lifetime.
The FTC is working to address deceptive advertising and unlawful add-on sales by considering changes to the law that would give the agency better tools to protect consumers and honest dealerships. Want to help? Submit a comment on the rulemaking and make your voice heard.
In 2020, the agency issued a staff report that highlights some of the challenges people face while buying and financing vehicles. The proposed rule seeks to address those issues and others the FTC has seen in its law enforcement actions. For example, some dishonest dealers advertise a great deal, then say the car isn’t available when you get to the dealership, and instead try to sell you a different vehicle at a different — usually higher — price. Sometimes, advertised prices might not include various fees and charges, which dealers only reveal when you arrive at the dealership. Dealers also may try to cram add-on charges by hiding them in the lengthy contract or through other deceptive means to increase your cost. The complex and lengthy process of buying or leasing a car, combined with actions by dishonest dealers, are reasons why the FTC got more than 100,000 complaints in each of the past several years on this topic.
If you have opinions, ideas, or experiences, you’d like to share about any of those issues, submit your comment on the proposed rule. All comments must be submitted online 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.