The Federal Trade Commission is clamping down this year on misleading auto dealership promoting, in a series of circumstances the FTC named Operation Steer Clear.
Because January, the FTC has disclosed settlements with 10 dealerships in 6 states. The most recent instance was final week, involving Courtesy Car Group in Attleboro, Mass. According to the FTC, the group advertised “$ down payment” with no adequately disclosing other fees.
In a consent purchase, Courtesy Automobile Group in effect agrees to obey the guidelines. That involves “clearly and conspicuously” disclosing, for instance, whether or not an advertised value is for a loan or a lease, and how much money is due at inception.
In an additional situation, the FTC explained Paramount Kia, Hickory, N.C., prominently advertised a $ 99 month-to-month payment, with no disclosing prominently ample that the $ 99 payment was only for the initial 3 months. After that, the monthly payment went up to $ 531.
The fine print is there, but it’s difficult to study. However, there’s no missing the “$ 99/mo.” payment.
Other dealerships incorporated in the FTC crackdown have been in California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.
“Dealers’ adverts need to have to spell out costs and other essential terms buyers can count on,” mentioned Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Buyer Safety, in a written statement when the instances had been first announced, earlier this yr. “If they really do not, dealers can count on the FTC to consider action.”
There is absolutely nothing new in the FTC’s guidance of “buyer beware.” What’s new is that the FTC is now taking greater pains to examine marketing that’s posted on the internet or on social media.
In some circumstances, according to the FTC, dealerships enhanced their probabilities of getting in difficulty by taking advertisements that might have been Ok in print or on Tv and merely cutting and pasting them on-line.
Fine print that was at least plausibly legible in a newspaper ad or on Television grew to become unreadable when it was reproduced in a lot tinier print on-line, or in a YouTube video.