FTC regional director warns auto dealers about deceptive ads

FTC regional director warns auto dealers about deceptive ads

An FTC regional director told WardsAuto that the agency is focused on dealer advertising, and dealers should make sure they are following ad regulations.

There is not an explicit set of criteria for deceptive ads, FTC southeast regional director Cindy Liebes told Wardsê reporter Steve Finlay. It depends on what the average consumer would consider deceptive.

–Disclosures should be clear and conspicuous,” Liebes said. Consumers should not be expected to scroll down to see them. The adês size, placement and color are all important. Pale yellow type on a white background, for example, is not acceptable.

Examples of deceptive dealership practices that the FTC has pursued: offering to pay off a customerês negative equity when the plan is simply to roll the debt into a new loan; and advertising low monthly payments of $99 when that deal applies only for the first two months. FTC is also looking at truth-in-lending violations and standard bait-and-switch ad presentations.

Liebes encouraged dealers to report other dealers who run deceptive ads, and said the FTC has gotten more leads from dealers than from consumers.

WANADA dealers should have a look at NADAês auto advertising guidelines found in the membersêsection of www.nada.org. Dealers can also go onto FTCês website, which covers Internet advertising rules as well at www.FTC.gov.

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