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The FTC Mandates Used Car Dealers Provide More Info to Car Buyers

» Posted March 24, 2017Resources | Share This Post

Buying a car is a big investment. This is why there are various consumer protection rules, like the California motor vehicle lemon law, which aim to provide protection to motorists who spend money on vehicles. 

Although there are regulations, though, consumers can still end up facing financial loss when they make vehicle purchases. The laws are evolving all the time and just recently the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) passed new regulations applicable to used car dealers.  Even with these new rules, however, it remains up to car buyers to do their due diligence to try to protect themselves from loss.

The FTC Imposes New Protections for Used Car Buyers

According to Cleveland.com, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is now requiring dealers of used cars to provide more information on window stickers on used vehicles. The rule specifically mandates that the sticker on the window of the used car should recommend that the car buyer obtain a vehicle history report. The sticker should also contain language advising consumers that they should check to see if there is an open recall on the used car.

The new disclosures also require dealers to include details about whether the car is covered by a third-party warranty and a statement in Spanish telling Spanish speaking customers that they have the right to ask for a Spanish-language buyer's guide if the sale is being conducted in Spanish.

The specific language the rule has been under consideration since 2012 but has been finalized, and car dealers must comply with the new requirements as of January 27, 2016.  However, dealers were allowed to use up their existing stock of window stickers over the course of a full year so many stickers with the new warnings may not have been immediately posted.

Some consumer safety groups are concerned that the rule does not go far enough because the warning still puts the onus on the consumer to go online and get recall information and the vehicle history report. 

Many of the consumer groups who pushed for tighter regulations wanted the FTC to require that the dealer window stickers actually state whether the car had been subject to a recall or not. Some dealers voluntarily provide information on recalls and make repairs before selling a car that has been recalled, but many do not and car buyers may be unaware of the fact they are buying a vehicle with unrepaired defects.

Consumer groups argue that a notice on the window about the recall would better educate buyers about the fact that the car may need a fix after if it purchased.  However, at least the new language will alert consumers to the fact that they should be checking out the car's history, so it is better than no information at all being provided to consumers regarding potential defects.

Consumers need to know what the risks are when buying cars and should understand the scope of consumer protection rules including California’s motor vehicle lemon laws. An experienced attorney can provide assistance to those consumers who have serious warranty repair problems with their cars.


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