The FTC is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Used Car Buyers Guide required by the agency’s Used Car Rule. The FTC’s Press Release is http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2012/12/usedcarrule.shtm. The FTC also issued a final rule that makes technical corrections and revises the Spanish translation of the Buyers Guide. The Used Car Rule, formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule, has been in effect since 1985 and requires car dealers to display a window sticker, known as a Buyers Guide, on the used cars they offer for sale. The Buyers Guide discloses whether the dealer offers a warranty and, if so, its terms and conditions, including the duration of the coverage, the percentage of total repair costs the dealer will pay, and which vehicle systems the warranty covers. In states that do not permit sales of used cars “as is,” or without warranties, dealers must display an alternative version of the Buyers Guide. The FTC is seeking comments on potential revisions to the Rule that would:
- add a statement to the Buyers Guide encouraging consumers to seek vehicle history information and directing consumers to an FTC website for more information about vehicle histories;
- add a statement in Spanish to the Buyers Guide directing Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for a copy in Spanish, if they desire;
- add catalytic converters and airbags to the List of Systems on the back of the Buyers Guide; and
- place boxes on the back of the Buyers Guide where dealers will have the option to indicate whether (1) the manufacturer’s warranty still applies; (2) the manufacturer’s used vehicle warranty, such as a manufacturer’s certified used car warranty, applies; or (3) some other used vehicle warranty applies.
The proposed Buyers Guide and the current Buyers Guide recommend that consumers ask about an independent mechanic’s inspection before purchase, provide information about warranties, list a vehicle’s major systems and the major defects that may occur in them, and warn consumers that they should get all promises in writing because spoken promises are difficult to enforce. The Buyers Guide disclosures are incorporated by reference into the sales contract, and govern in the event of an inconsistency between the Buyers Guide and the contract. The FTC also announced a new final Rule that makes minor corrections to the Spanish translation of the Buyers Guide. The Used Car Rule requires dealers to use Spanish-language versions of the Buyers Guide and to make related contract disclosures in Spanish when they conduct sales in Spanish. The revised Spanish-language versions will take effect on February 11, 2013, but dealers may use up any remaining supplies of the current Buyers Guide. The revised Spanish translations can be found on the FTC’s website at business.ftc.gov.