[BILLING CODE 6750-01]
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
NOTICE OF 30-DAY EXTENSION IN COMMENT PERIOD AND
CHANGE IN DATE FOR PUBLIC FORUM ON
DISCLOSURES IN THE RESALE OF VEHICLES
REPURCHASED DUE TO WARRANTY DEFECTS
AGENCY: Federal Trade Commission.
ACTION: Request for public comments.
SUMMARY: The Federal Trade Commission ("the Commission" or "FTC") has extended the date by which comments must be submitted and has changed the date for the public forum concerning the practices used in the resale of vehicles previously repurchased from consumers because of warranty defects. This notice informs prospective participants of the changes and sets new dates of July 29, 1996, for the end of the comment period and October 3, 1996, for the forum.
On November 8, 1995, the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety and other consumer groups ("Consumer Coalition" or "Petitioners") filed a petition in which they requested that the Commission initiate either a rulemaking proceeding or an enforcement action regarding the alleged industry practice of reselling vehicles repurchased due to defects without disclosure of the vehicle's prior history to the subsequent purchaser. On April 30, 1996, the Commission published this petition without endorsing or supporting the views expressed therein. In addition to seeking public comment on the issues raised by the petition and on other related issues, the Commission announced its intention to hold a public forum on July 15, 1996, to further discuss these issues with the affected interests. In order to provide sufficient time for interested parties to compile factual material in response to the request for comments, the Commission has extended until July 29, 1996, the date by which comments must be received. In addition, in order to provide participants with sufficient time to review the comments submitted in response to the April 30 notice, the Commission has changed the date of the public forum to October 3, 1996.
DATES: Notification of interest in participating in the public forum must be submitted on or before July 29, 1996. Comments must be received by close of business on July 29, 1996. The public forum will be held in Washington, D.C. on October 3, 1996, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
ADDRESSES: Notification of interest in participating in the public forum should be submitted in writing to Carole I. Danielson, Division of Marketing Practices, Federal Trade Commission, Sixth and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The public forum will be held at the Federal Trade Commission, Sixth and Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Carole I. Danielson (202) 326-3115, Division of Marketing Practices, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.C. 20580.
In a petition dated November 3, 1995, the Consumer Coalition requested that the FTC either initiate a rulemaking proceeding or an enforcement action in connection with the industry practice of allegedly reselling vehicles bought back because of defects without disclosure to the used car purchaser. The petitioners allege that auto manufacturers, their dealers and others are engaged in a pattern of conduct (which the petitioners term "lemon laundering") intended to conceal material information about the vehicle's safety and quality history from purchasers of vehicles repurchased from consumers as a result of alleged defects. The petitioners also allege that this pattern of conduct often involves transporting the repurchased vehicles across state lines to avoid the operation of state law protections. On April 30, 1996, the Commission published a request for comment on the issues raised by the petition. (A copy of the petition was appended to the notice.) The comment period closes on June 28, 1996. The Commission also announced in the April 30 notice its intention of holding a public forum on July 15, 1996, to allow Commission staff an opportunity to discuss these issues with the various affected interests. The notice set forth the criteria by which such affected interests would be chosen.
Many of the prospective participants in the public forum have expressed concerns that there will not be sufficient time to complete compilation of the requested information before June 28 and have asked that the comment period be extended an additional 30 days to complete their data collection. The Commission is mindful of the need to deal with this matter expeditiously. However, the Commission is also aware that the issues raised are complex and welcomes as much substantive input as possible in order to facilitate its deliberations.
Accordingly, the Commission has decided to extend the comment period to July 29, 1996, and to postpone the public forum until Thursday, October 3, 1996. This extension will provide sufficient time for commenters to complete their data collection and, thereafter, will provide all parties with an opportunity to review the record and to prepare fully for further examination of the issues raised by the April 30 notice. Parties interested in participating in the forum must notify Commission staff by July 29, 1996. Prior to the forum, parties selected will be provided with copies of the comments received from the other participants in response to the April 30 notice.
List of Subjects
Used cars, Warranties, Trade practices.
By direction of the Commission.
DONALD S. CLARK