The Federal Trade Commission recently announced a sizable sweep of auto dealerships nationwide about a range of issues impacting the structure of sale prices, financing, advertising disclosures, sweepstakes and prize winnings.
While none of the affected dealerships listed in the announcement is in the Boise area, issues cited are similar to advertising concerns the BBB® addresses with car dealerships on a regular basis. We hope the result of this sweep will encourage auto dealers across the country to pay closer attention to the structure of their offers, clearly show the details of their financing plans, and carefully select the type of advertising they use to get customers onto their lots to buy cars.
It’s worth mentioning that the great majority of the ads and other offers involved in the sweep seem to be reasonably typical lines of credit and/or solidly low prices. While they appear to be not entirely unbelievable offers, the problem lies within the purchasing of the vehicle. What many consumers don’t understand is that buying a car can be a complicated affair with many moving parts. Auto dealers are required and obligated to be involved with several different offices: federal, state, and municipal agencies and their respective laws, and the manufacturers whose products they sell come to mind. Ultimately, they have to make sure everyone is pleased with the deal while still making a profit.
The FTC created an accompanying article that makes deciphering these offers a little easier for consumers: “Are Car Ads Taking You for a Ride?” It’s obviously for consumers, but the article could also prove to be helpful for car dealers in refocusing attention toward making sure advertising copy and fine print are in tip-top shape.
Whether you’re a consumer or a car dealer, BBB can help you to make sense of any questions you might have when sifting through auto ads. Feel free to get in touch with us and, of course, check out any auto dealers you’re considering buying from with bbb.org.