Regulator plans to change car sales rules to protect consumers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a new crackdown on deceptive or detective car sales tactics, which includes providing accurate pricing information.

Under the new rules, car dealerships would have to provide car buyers with an “actual offer price” which should include all other costs except taxes and government fees.

According to the FTC, there has been an influx of complaints over the past two years due to rising prices and a shortage of available vehicles.

In a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), the FTC aims to address the issues of additional fees, bait-and-change advertising, bogus additional products and services, and more.

“The proposed rule would prohibit motor vehicle dealers from making certain misrepresentations in the course of selling, leasing or arranging for financing of motor vehicles,” the agency said.

Among other things, the rules would require dealers to display accurate prices and be consistent in all advertising and sales conversations. Complementary products without value would be prohibited and resellers would be required to keep a record of all interactions and transactions in a sale.

The new rules would also include new protections specifically for tenant customers, who often receive misleading information about their products.

Used car prices have skyrocketed in recent years, meaning dealers have more incentive to pressure rental customers to return their car at the end of a lease, rather than buy them, even if it would not be in their best interest.

For example, someone with a rental contract drawn up several years ago could allow the customer to buy a car at a price that is currently much lower than its real value.

The FTC’s proposed rules would eliminate some of the sales tactics used to do this, providing better protection for consumers buying new or used cars.

Under the new rules, rental customers would be fully protected. Additionally, it would prohibit the sale of services or products that add no value and prohibit dealer fees, which are usually added to the price at the end of the sales process and are often hidden among other documents.