04 Dec

From the FTC Business Center Blog

By Lesley Fair

December 4, 2012 – 4:01pm

The wheels are turning on proposed updates to the FTC’s Used Car Rule.  Formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule (although only its Mother calls it that), the Rule has been in effect since 1985.  It requires car dealers to display a window sticker, called a Buyers Guide, on used cars they offer for sale.  The Buyers Guide gives people information about the car — for example, whether it’s being sold “as is” or with a warranty, what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty, and the systems the warranty covers.  (Since some states don’t allow the sale of cars “as is,” there’s a different version of the Buyers Guide those dealers need to display.) As part of its ongoing review of regulations, the FTC asked for feedback about the future of the Used Car Rule.  Based on what people said, the FTC concluded that the Rule still benefits consumers.  So now we’d like your comments about some potential revisions.  What’s under consideration?

  • adding a statement to the Buyers Guide encouraging prospective buyers to get vehicle history information and directing them to an FTC website for more about vehicle histories;
  • adding a statement in Spanish to the English-language version of the Buyers Guide letting consumers know they can ask for a copy in Spanish;
  • placing boxes on the back of the Buyers Guide where dealers will have the option to tell people whether:  1) the manufacturer’s warranty still applies; 2) the manufacturer’s used vehicle warranty — like a manufacturers certified used car warranty — applies; or 3) some other used vehicle warranty applies.

The FTC specifically wants your input on what should be included on that proposed new consumer website about vehicle histories.  Also under consideration are consumer protection issues arising from used car sales on the Internet.  Is deception prevalent?  What have you observed?In addition to the request for public comments about proposed changes to the Used Car Rule, the FTC announced a final rule — which takes effect on February 11, 2013 — making some technical corrections to the Spanish translation of the Buyers Guide.The announcement serves as a timely reminder to bookmark the BCP Business Center’s Automobiles page designed with dealers in mind.  Just a few example of what you’ll find there: A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule, a brochure chock full of compliance advice; copies of the required Buyers Guide in English and Spanish; and to make things easier for businesses, new fillable versions of the English and Spanish Buyers Guides.The deadline for comments about the Used Car Rule is February 11, 2013.