FTC Charges Arkansas Car Dealer with Not Displaying ‘Buyers Guides’

For Release

The Federal Trade Commission has charged an Arkansas auto dealer, Abernathy Motor Company, and its two principals, with failing to display a “Buyers Guide” on used vehicles offered for sale, as required by the FTC’s Used Car Rule. Each violation could result in a civil penalty of up to $16,000.

“Used car dealers are required to post a Buyers Guide providing warranty and other important information on the cars they offer for sale. That’s the law,” said Jessica Rich, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Consumers have a right to receive this information up-front to help them make an informed buying decision.”

The FTC’s Used Car Rule, which took effect in 1985 specifically requires used car dealers to disclose whether the car comes with a dealer’s warranty or is being sold “as is.” If the car is sold with a dealer’s warranty, the Rule requires the Buyers Guide to list its basic terms and conditions, including the duration of coverage, the percentage of total repair costs to be paid by the dealer, and the exact systems covered by the warranty.

In January 2013, the FTC announced that its Southwest Region Office had warned 11 used car dealerships in Jonesboro, Arkansas, that their sales practices violated the Used Car Rule. All but Abernathy Motor Company subsequently came into compliance.

Abernathy Motor Company has four used car sales locations in Arkansas: two in Blytheville, one in West Memphis, and one in Jonesboro. The FTC’s complaint also names the company’s owners, Wesley Abernathy and David Abernathy, and an affiliated dealership, Ab’s Best Buys AMC Inc., as defendants.

According to the complaint, the FTC visited the Abernathy dealership in Jonesboro in November 2012, and found that none of the vehicles offered for sale displayed a Buyers Guide. The agency informed the dealership of that fact, and sent the dealership a copy of the Guide and the FTC publication, A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule. In May 2013, the FTC re-visited the Abernathy dealership, and visited Ab’s Best Buys AMC Inc., and found both dealerships were offering used vehicles for sale that did not display a Buyers Guide.

The FTC appreciates the assistance of Legal Aid of Arkansas in this matter.

The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, Jonesboro Division.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.

Contact Information

MEDIA CONTACT:        
Frank Dorman,
Office of Public Affairs
202-326-2674

STAFF CONTACT:             
Jim Elliott,
FTC’s Southwest Region
214-979-9373