Our job at the Bureau of Consumer Protection is to protect consumers by enforcing the FTC Act’s prohibition on deceptive and unfair practices. It’s important that we carry out that mission effectively and efficiently.
Blog Posts Tagged with Automobiles
Pork Chop Hill Road, Screaming Eagle Boulevard, Hell on Wheels Avenue, or my former home on Patton Drive. If those street names sound familiar, chances are you’re a servicemember, a veteran, or part of a military family. July is the Month of the Military Consumer and the FTC has resources to help keep members of the military fiscally fit and scam savvy – and a tip for businesses that do business with military consumers.
If you own or operate gas stations, chances are you know about skimmers – illegal card readers attached to payment terminals, like gas pumps, that grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without the customer’s knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. If your pumps are compromised, customers won’t know their information has been stolen until they get an account statement or overdraft notice.
Customers aren’t only victims here. Your business can suffer from the associated costs, including a damaged reputation and lost sales.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. The FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have announced the agenda for their joint workshop on the consumer privacy and security implications of connected cars. If this emerging tech issue is of interest to your clients, race to Washington (within the lawful speed limit, of course) to attend the event on Wednesday, June 28, 2017.
When scammers and hackers attack small businesses, it hurts not only the businesses’ reputations and bottom line, but also the integrity of the marketplace. Today, FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen announced a new FTC website, FTC.gov/SmallBusiness, to help business owners avoid scams, protect their computers and networks, and keep their customers’ and employees’ data safe.
It’s wise to maintain a reasonable speed: 1) when you’re behind the wheel; or 2) when you’re preparing your public comments for the June 28, 2017, workshop on connected cars hosted by the FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That’s why we’re extending the deadline for your feedback to Monday, May 1st.
In the 80s, the appropriately-named group The Cars asked the musical question, “Who’s gonna drive you home?” The FTC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are hosting a workshop on June 28, 2017, to examine the consumer privacy and security implications of automated and connected motor vehicles. The questions won’t be of the musical variety, but we have a list of them and welcome your input.
Sometimes a sequel can be just as compelling as the original and we think a just-announced settlement that makes owners of 3.0 liter VW, Audi, and Porsche diesels eligible for more than $1 billion in payments fits that description.
“Just like the white winged dove sings a song,” you can count on the BCP Business Blog to celebrate the “Edge of Seventeen” – 2017, of course – with a recap of in-case-you-missed-it developments from 2016. (Sorry, Stevie Nicks. That was a stretch.) In no particular order, here is our take on ten noteworthy consumer protection actions from the year gone by.
When thinking about buying a used car, some people hit a speed bump when they get to the “used” part. It’s one thing to spot a dinged fender or smudged floor mat, but it’s tougher to evaluate a used car’s essential systems. In separate complaints, the FTC charged that CarMax and two large dealership groups touted how rigorously they inspect their used cars and yet failed to clearly disclose to prospective buyers that some were subject to unrepaired safety recalls.
The military community makes many of the same consumer decisions as their civilian counterparts. We all need to manage our money – and avoid rip-offs. But servicemembers and their families also face unique challenges, like frequent relocations and deployment. When a permanent change of station is on the horizon, a military family needs to rent or buy a new place to live, manage money while on the move, and be vigilant about dealing with businesses in an unfamiliar locale. A servicemember’s regular paycheck from Uncle Sam can make them a target for scammers.
The FTC’s Used Car Rule has been the law of the land since 1985. It requires used car dealers to post a Buyers Guide on cars they offer for sale. The Guide gives customers important warranty and other information to help them make informed buying decisions. After asking for public comments, the FTC has made some changes to the Buyers Guide that every used car dealer needs to know about.
A judge has today approved a landmark $10 billion settlement that will enable 500,000 consumers across the country to sell back their tainted diesel-powered cars to Volkswagen.
The $10 billion order secured by the FTC will make consumers whole by remedying the losses they suffered due to VW’s deceptive “Clean Diesel” ad campaign.
For most hard-working Americans, a car represents the most significant purchase after their family home.
Not many kids play with yo-yos these days, but an FTC complaint against nine related Los Angeles-area car dealers charges that the companies engaged in (among other things) illegal yo-yo financing practices – and for affected consumers, it was no game. Even if you don’t have clients in the auto industry, this case merits your attention.
We’ve cautioned companies to give VW owners the straight story about the $10 billion buyback program resulting from VW’s false “clean diesel” claims. But new promotions claiming to be related to the buyback are making the rounds and wait ‘til you hear who’s in their sights this time: auto dealers.
Gary Numan sang, “Here in my car, I can only receive.” Well, those days are in the past. More and more vehicles are outfitted with the latest communications technologies like Bluetooth, GPS navigation, roadside assistance, streaming music, and web browsing. With mobile technologies in rental cars, consumers’ personal information can stay with the car long after the consumer has returned it. If you’re a car rental company, it’s important to think about protecting consumer privacy in connected rental cars.
Well, that didn’t take long.
The details of the historic $10 billion Volkswagen “clean diesel” settlement are still being finalized – and as we mentioned a few weeks ago, we’re already hearing reports of dealers targeting VW owners and lessees with promotions that include half-truths, misinformation, and downright deception.
According to the Sinatra standard, "Love is lovelier the second time around.” But the same can’t be said when a car dealership that has already settled an FTC law enforcement action for deceptively advertising financing and leasing terms engages in further misrepresentations.
The FTC’s recent action against Volkswagen focused on the company’s “clean diesel” claims, which were rendered false by VW’s installation of a defeat device that cheated on emissions tests. The history-making $10 billion settlement will offer eligible car owners choices to compensate them for the deception.
Chances are, one of your customers, employees, or friends will soon be buying a car. You can do them a good turn without going near a wheel.