Submission Number: 00009
Received: 4/5/2011 7:40:18 PM
Commenter: Martin Putnam
Organization: Law Offices of Martin Putnam
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: Public Roundtables: Protecting Consumers in the Sale and Leasing of Motor Vehicles; Project No. P104811
Attachments: No Attachments
I am an attorney specializing in consumer issues, specifically automobile sales and financing issues. In my experience, there are many more instances of sales and financing abuses than there are attorneys to handle them. Among the issues that I see repeatedly are (1) sales of defective motor vehicles without disclosure of defects; (2) failure to disclose the terms and conditions of financing at the time of sale; (3) in cases where the dealer asks a consumer to return and execute a new contract to reflect different financing terms, failure to disclose to the consumer that he or she has a right to walk away from the transaction rather than sign a new contract; (4) failure to observe consumer-protection laws such as Magnuson-Moss, possibly because it is less expensive to stonewall consumers than to comply with the law. As a result, lawful compensation is actually paid only to that small fraction of consumers who are able to find and retain a competent and experienced specialist in this area. (5) arbitration clauses that require the use of a forum in which consumers forfeit most of the procedural and substantive protections that they could obtain in a court of law.