FTC Seeks Comments on Additional Proposed Changes to Used Car Rule

Proposed Buyers Guide Requires Dealers to Disclose if They Have Vehicle History Reports

For Your Information

The Federal Trade Commission is seeking supplemental public comments on proposed changes to the agency’s Used Car Rule and the Used Car Buyers Guide that the Rule requires dealers to display. The Commission is not adopting any final amendments to the Rule at this time.

The Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule, in effect since 1985, requires car dealers to display a window sticker, called a Buyers Guide, on used cars they offer for sale. The Buyers Guide discloses whether the dealer is offering to sell a used car “as is” (without a warranty), or with a warranty. If the sale is with a warranty, the Buyers Guide discloses the warranty’s terms and conditions, including the duration of coverage, the percentage of total repair costs the dealer will pay, and the vehicle systems that the warranty covers. In states that do not permit “as is” used car sales, dealers must use an alternative Buyers Guide that discloses whether the sale is with a warranty or with implied warranties only.

In December 2012, the FTC sought public comments on proposed changes to the Buyers Guide as part of its systematic review of all of the agency’s rules and guides.  In response to the comments the Commission received, the agency now seeks comments on additional proposed changes to the Used Car Rule, including:

  • requiring dealers who have obtained a vehicle history report to indicate that fact in a box on the Buyers Guide, and to provide a copy to consumers upon request;
  • modifying the Buyers Guide description of an “As Is” sale to clarify that it means the sale of a used car without a warranty; and
  • placing boxes on the front of the Buyers Guide for dealers to disclose “non-dealer” warranties.

The proposed changes announced today incorporate certain previously proposed amendments, including:

  • adding a statement to the Buyers Guide encouraging consumers to obtain vehicle history reports, to check for safety recalls, and to visit a proposed FTC website for more information; and
  • adding a statement, in Spanish, on the front of the English language Buyers Guide, advising Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the Guide in Spanish if they cannot read it in English.

The Commission also invites comments on alternative approaches that public commenters proposed for the vehicle history disclosure and the “As Is” statement. 

For more information about the Used Car Rule, read Buying a Used Car.  For used car dealers, the FTC offers A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule.  “Fillable” versions of the Buyers Guide in English and Spanish are available at FTC.gov.

The Commission vote to publish the Proposed Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register was 5-0.  To comment by mail, write “Used Car Rule Regulatory Review, 16 CFR Part 455, Project No. P087604” on comments and send them to Federal Trade Commission, Office of the Secretary, Room H-113 (Annex A), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580, or file them online. Comments must be received on or before January 30, 2015. All comments received will be posted on the agency's website.

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

Frank Dorman
Office of Public Affairs

John C. Hallerud
FTC’s Midwest Region