Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board addresses online advertising

Virginia Motor Vehicle Dealer Board addresses online advertising

The March 10, 2014 meeting of the Virginia Motor Vehicle Board (MVDB) was the most active in years on auto advertising. A dealer made a presentation saying that MVDBs policies should be updated to address online advertising. To which MVDB made three important points:

For competitive reasons MVDB said, Virginia dealers should be allowed to advertise a price net of finance source incentives. But an appropriate disclosure must accompany the price.

MVDB staff said they are having a significant problem with craigslist advertising. Apparently, craigslist recently imposed a charge of $5.00 per line to a dealer advertising a vehicle and as a result, some dealers are placing ads without noting that the ads are by dealers – a violation of Virginia law. MVDB plans to step up efforts to regulate the dealer practice.

MVDB staff reiterated its concern about scrape Internet advertising, or the process where Internet sites, without authorization, scrape inventory listings from other dealer-authorized sites to build their own inventory listings. These scrape inventory listings are often incomplete or missing appropriate disclosures. MVDB is challenged with the issue which arises when it cannot tell which sites are authorized by dealers and which are not. MVDB reminded dealers that if they receive Board letters about sites that have scraped inventory listings, they should still advise MVDB that the ad is unauthorized.

Thanks to Mike Charapp, Charapp & Weiss LLP, for this report.

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