Volkswagen Group of America spent multi-millions positioning its “clean diesel” technology as an environmentally conscious choice for car buyers – and sales of more than 550,000 so-called clean diesel vehicles suggest it was a persuasive pitch. But as a just-filed FTC lawsuit alleges, VW scored impressive green numbers by installing each car with a “defeat device” that cheated on emissions testing.
Blog Posts Tagged with Automobiles
Usually a Top 10 list is something industries are delighted to find themselves on. So we’ll call this one a Flop 10 list, the FTC’s annual report about consumer complaints added in 2015 to the Consumer Sentinel database. How did your industry – and your state – rank in reported complaints?
First, the box score:
Make, model, and cup holders are considerations, of course, but what really matters to a prospective used car buyer is whether the vehicle’s systems check out. It just makes sense, since so many of those systems are tied to safety. But it’s not easy for consumers to tell if they’re buying a lemon or a creampuff. Many dealers try to assuage that concern by advertising that their used cars have passed multi-point checks.
Videos from the live webcast of our Jan. 19th event are now available.
Today’s the day we open the hood to explore competition issues around state regulation of motor vehicle distribution. If you can’t attend our day-long workshop, watch the live webcast using the LIVE WEBCAST link on the Auto Distribution workshop page.
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.
For many of us, the holiday season involves at least one loooong automobile ride. We travel over the river and through the woods in our beloved cars, our trunks stuffed with presents for family and friends. Today, the way we buy those presents and the way we buy the car that carries them look very different. While the retail landscape has changed dramatically in the last 50 years, the system of automobile sales in the United States has stayed mostly the same. Are consumers benefitting from the current distribution system for automobiles or are changes needed?
People usually think of beacons as radiant lights that attract attention. But the FTC has charged that two Ohio auto dealers (among other things) used the word in a way that kept consumers in the dark.
There are three letters every auto dealer should know about. GTO? XKE? Good guesses, but not what we had in mind.
We’re talking about GLB.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act requires financial institutions to give their customers initial and annual notices about their privacy policies. If the company shares certain customer information with particular types of third parties, they also have to give customers the opportunity to opt out of sharing. The FTC’s Privacy of Consumer Financial Information Rule – friends call it the GLB Privacy Rule – explains the specifics.
They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. But here’s one thing that doesn’t belong in Vegas or anywhere else: ads that draw buyers in with eye-catching terms while burying the “gotchas” in fine print. In separate law enforcement actions, the FTC alleged that two Las Vegas dealers – car dealers, that is – didn’t play it straight with consumers.
The Buyers Guide on a used car can’t confirm whether the original owner was that little old lady who just drove to church, but it offers other important information about the scope of any warranty the car comes with. The FTC’s Used Car Rule requires dealers to display the Buyers Guide on used vehicles offered for sale.
Look at those lists of the most admired companies in America and what do you notice about them? Great products, for sure. But many also enjoy stellar reputations for service after the sale. When a buyer is confident you’ll stand by your product, you’ve probably created a customer for life. One measure of that is how you honor your obligations under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.
A fundamental principle of competition is that consumers – not regulation – should determine what they buy and how they buy it. Consumers may benefit from the ability to buy cars directly from manufacturers – whether they are shopping for luxury cars or economy vehicles. The same competition principles should apply in either case.
When it comes to car advertising, truth should be standard equipment. That’s the message of Operation Ruse Control, a coast-to-coast and cross-border sweep by the FTC and state, federal, and international law enforcers aimed at driving out deception in automobile ads, adds-ons, financing, and auto loan modification services. The FTC cases offer 6 tips to help keep your promotions in the proper lane.
If your company offers warranties, a proposed FTC settlement with BMW of North America’s MINI Division suggests that a compliance check-up could be warranted.
She’s got a competition clutch with four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten ‘til the lake pipes roar.
And if that ain’t enough to make you flip your lid,
There's one more thing. I got the pink slip, Daddy.
53 and it’s likely to go up. That’s the number of data security law enforcement actions the FTC has settled so far. The facts of each case are different, but distilled down to the basics, they stand for one central proposition: Your company’s data security measures should be reasonable and appropriate in light of the sensitivity and amount of consumer information you have, the size and complexity of your business, and the availability and cost of tools to improve security and reduce vulnerabilities.
“$1 gets you out of your current loan or lease!” According to Trophy Nissan in the Dallas area, consumers could end their loan or lease for a buck – less than the cost of one of those air fresheners hanging from the rearview mirror. Trophy also promised to “match your tax refund so you can use it for a down payment!” Those are just two of the claims the FTC challenged as deceptive in a proposed settlement with the dealership.
When it comes to cars, sometimes good things come in twos: double wishbone suspension, dual overhead cams, twin torsion bars, and classic 2 + 2 muscle cars. What’s not on that list? Two lawsuits charging two auto dealers with deceptive advertising in violation of two FTC orders.