Enforcement action by FTC on auto recall notices

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a settlement recently with an auto dealer and its third party automotive marketing company over recall notices. The FTC alleged that recall-related mailers sent on the dealer’s behalf were sent to consumers whose vehicles were not subject to open recall, and that the dealer did not take appropriate steps, in FTC’s view, to ensure that consumer inquiries about those mailers were handled properly.

While it can be difficult to ensure that the right consumers are reached and that they understand the importance of remedying an open safety recall, dealers should use caution in how they try to reach consumers. In particular, dealers must take care that they: (a) actively monitor any third party marketing services sending such communications on their behalf; (b) properly train their staff on how to respond to consumer inquiries related to recalls; and (c) make certain that staff  understands www.safercar.gov, including what information it contains and how it can be accessed.

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