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The Federal Trade Commission has proposed an amendment to its rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to allow auto dealers that finance car purchases or provide car leases to provide online updates to consumers about their privacy policies as opposed to sending yearly updates by mail.

Under the proposed revision, auto dealers would be able to provide consumers with the privacy policy solely online, as long as the company notifies consumers on a yearly basis that the policy is viewable online. The rule change would require this notification to be part of some other legally required document provided to consumers.

The revised rule still would require dealers to provide consumers with a written copy of the notice upon request. In addition, if a dealer’s privacy policy has changed since a consumer was last provided a written notice, the consumer must be provided a copy of the new policy in writing. Dealers who share consumers’ personal data with third parties in a way that requires a consumer to have the ability to opt-out would not be allowed to provide their privacy policy only online.

The amendments also include clarifications to the language of the rule to reflect the Commission’s authority under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

The FTC will publish a full description of the changes in the Federal Register shortly. The proposed changes will be subject to public comment for 60 days, beginning today and continuing through Aug. 31, 2015, after which the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed changes final. Interested parties can submit comments electronically.

The Commission vote to publish the proposed rule changes was 5-0.

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

Jay Mayfield
Office of Public Affairs

Steven Toporoff
Bureau of Consumer Protection