16 CFR Part 455 Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule; Project No. P087604 #563688-00128

Submission Number:
J. Matthew Norris
Norris Law Firm, PLLC
North Carolina
Initiative Name:
16 CFR Part 455 Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule; Project No. P087604
I am a consumer attorney and am opposed to the proposed changes to the FTC Used Car Rule. While the current version is not perfect, it is much better for consumers than the proposed changes. The proposed changes do not require dealers to inspect vehicles prior to sale to determine their condition (aside from perhaps a cursory state emissions inspection required under state law), or to disclose known defects in the vehicle, even those that may be detected during required state inspections. All too often, what I see every day in my practice is that dealerships discover known defects with used vehicles, but misrepresent their condition (after all, what kind of sales pitch is it to tell consumers all the things that are wrong with the product?), and then sell the vehicles “AS-IS”. Dealers then hide behind the As-Is Buyers Guide to avoid responsibility for both warranty repairs and fraudulent misrepresentations. As it stands, much of the body of case precedent interpreting the existing Buyers Guide has concluded that As-Is is not a defense to fraud or unfair and deceptive practices. The proposed changes would upend that precedent, making it much more taxing on consumers to bring legitimate claims for fraudulent practices. In sum, the changes are a step backwards. If we are going to change the Rule, make it stronger and more beneficial for consumers. Better to not make any changes all than to try to fix something that, while perhaps not designed properly, is certainly not broken.