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Dealer Group Settles with FTC

Tuesday, 14 November 2017 23:24
A Southern California auto dealership group will pay $1.4 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it violated a 2014 administrative order prohibiting it from misrepresenting how much consumers could pay to finance or lease a vehicle.The proposed court order resolving the FTC’s complaint against 12 businesses operating as the Norm Reeves dealerships, bars similar advertising misrepresentations, and imposes strict compliance and reporting terms to prevent future violations.According to the FTC’s first complaint, the defendants made a variety of misrepresentations in advertisements to consumers that violated the FTC Act, falsely leading consumers to believe they could buy vehicles for specific low prices, finance vehicles for specific low monthly payments, and/or make no upfront payment when leasing.Specifically, the FTC charged Norm Reeves with deceptively advertising that consumers could pay $0 up-front to lease a vehicle when, in fact, the advertised price excluded substantial fees and other costs. The ads also allegedly violated the Consumer Leasing Act (CLA) by failing to disclose certain lease related terms. One of the dealerships’ ads also allegedly violated the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) and Regulation Z, by failing to disclose certain credit-related terms.The orders settling the previous complaint, which the Commission approved as final in May 2014, prohibited the dealerships from misrepresenting the cost of purchasing a vehicle with financing, or any other material fact about the price, sale, financing, or leasing of a vehicle in its ads. The orders also addressed the defendants’ alleged TILA and CLA violations by requiring the dealerships to clearly and conspicuously disclose terms required by these credit and lease laws.The proposed court order settles the FTC’s civil penalty complaint that the defendants violated the 2014 order by misrepresenting the total cost of vehicle financing or leases to prospective buyers, or misrepresenting the offer’s availability to all consumers. The order also settles Commission charges that the defendants failed to disclose, or did not clearly and conspicuously disclose, credit and lease information required by TILA and the CLA, and failed to maintain proper records, in violation of the order.

FTC Looks at Licensing

Sunday, 22 October 2017 18:28
The Federal Trade Commission’s Economic Liberty Task Force has announced the agenda for its second roundtable in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 7, to examine empirical evidence on the effects of occupational licensing.“The Effects of Occupational Licensure on Competition, Consumers, and the Workforce: Empirical Research and Results” will bring together experts who have studied and attempted to quantify the effects of occupational licensing regulations on service providers, consumers, and markets.The Task Force’s first roundtable, held in July, focused on enhancing license portability across state lines.The Nov. 7 roundtable will focus on the ability of empirical research to clarify costs and benefits, and to better inform policy makers’ discussions of occupational licensing reform.It is free to the public and begins at 1 p.m. at Constitution Center, 400 7th St., SW, Washington, D.C., 20024. The FTC invites comments from the public on the topics to be addressed.

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AG Charges Dealerships with Adding Costs

Friday, 13 October 2017 02:57
The New York attorney general announced two separate settlements that cost more than $900,000 in restitution and $135,000 in penalties and costs.The state had charged Garden City Nissan, Nissan of Huntington, VW of Huntington, Potemkin Hyundai and Potemkin Mitsubishi with the unlawful sale of credit repair and identity theft protection services.Often, these after-sale items added hundreds or thousands of dollars in hidden charges to the sale or lease price of a vehicle. The costs of these items were often bundled into the vehicle sale price and not separately itemized.  The attorney general’s investigation showed that with some dealers, consumers were totally unaware that they had received these services. In many other cases, consumers thought that the services were free. As a result, often unbeknownst to the consumer, the price of the car stated on purchase and lease documents was inflated by the amount of these after-sale items.

Groups File Suit to Oppose Arbitration Ban

Tuesday, 03 October 2017 00:27
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Bankers Association, American Financial Services Association, Consumer Bankers Association, Financial Services Roundtable, and a coalition of associations located throughout Texas filed a legal challenge to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s anti-arbitration rule.
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.As outlined in the complaint, the legal challenge rests on several grounds, including that the rule violates the requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act because the CFPB study was flawed and based on biased data, and because the rule is harmful to consumers.