Cars are one of the biggest purchases a consumer will ever make. Researching models and options is only part of the process. Prospective buyers also have to consider price negotiations, trade-in, and financing. Since 2011, the FTC has brought more than 25 cases challenging illegal practices in this area. To learn more about what consumers understand about the purchasing and financing process at the dealership, the FTC plans to conduct a survey of people who recently bought an automobile and financed it through a dealer. But first, we’d like your feedback about the proposed research.
The survey would involve consumer interviews on topics like: How did price negotiations go? How about the trade-in process? How did the financing go? Did the dealer offer additional products or services? Has the dealer been in touch since the consumer drove off the lot? We’d also review the consumers’ purchase and financing documents during the interview, and explore the consumers’ understanding of them. The Federal Register Notice explains the proposal in detail.
Why are we asking questions before we start asking questions? Before we undertake research like this, there are public comment requirements under federal law – and it just makes sense to get feedback first from interested parties. Consult the Federal Register Notice for information about commenting, including how to file online. The deadline will be 60 days after the notice runs in the Federal Register.