FTC to probe auto dealer practices

The Federal Trade Commission will hold a series of roundtable discussions about car dealers' business practices next month. The talks will be held across the country in an effort by the FTC to get a feel for how car dealers are conducting themselves and whether their practices are fair to the consumer.
The discussions kick off on April 12 at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit and are free and open to the public. The main topic will be dealer financing, which is almost always a confusing, complicated process that can wind up costing car buyers more money than they originally intended.

The FTC is in the process of identifying experts in the field to attend the talks, including auto industry representatives and consumer advocates. More meeting times and discussion schedules will be posted to the FTC website as they're made public.

[Source: FTC via The Truth About Cars]
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FTC Roundtables Will Address Consumer Issues in Motor Vehicle Financing and Leasing
First Roundtable to be Held April 12 in Detroit

Starting next month, the Federal Trade Commission will host a series of roundtables around the country to gather information on consumers' experiences when buying or leasing motor vehicles. The roundtables will explore consumer protection issues related to the sale, financing, and leasing of the consumer vehicles consumers most often use – cars, SUVs, and light trucks.

For many consumers, buying or leasing a car is their most expensive financial transaction aside from owning a home. With prices averaging more than $28,000 for a new vehicle and $14,000 for a used vehicle from a dealer, most consumers seek to lease or finance the purchase of a new or used car. Financing obtained at a dealership may provide benefits for many consumers, such as convenience, special manufacturer-sponsored programs, access to a variety of banks and financial entities, or access to credit otherwise unavailable to a buyer. Dealer-arranged financing, however, can be a complicated, opaque process and could potentially involve unfair or deceptive practices.

The roundtable events will be free and open to the public. The first roundtable will be on April 12 at Wayne State University Law School in Detroit, which is co-hosting the event. FTC staff will identify and invite people with relevant expertise, including representatives from the industry and consumer advocates, to participate as panelists, and may invite others who submit requests in response to the Federal Register notice. Those who want to be panelists at any of the roundtables may e-mail their name and affiliation to MotorVehicleRoundtables1@ftc.gov. Those who wish to submit comments on roundtable topics may file comments at https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/motorvehicleroundtables1. Both requests to participate as panelists and comments must be received by March 28 using instructions in the Federal Register notice.

More information, including roundtable topics, will be posted at http://www.ftc.gov. Those who plan to attend a roundtable are encouraged to preregister by e-mailing their name and affiliation to PreregisterMotorVehicleRoundtables1@ftc.gov. (FTC File No. P104811; staff contacts are Katherine Worthman and Carole Reynolds, Division of Financial Practices, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580, 202-326-3224.)

Reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities are available upon request. If you need an accommodation related to a disability, please call Katherine Worthman or Carole Reynolds at 202-326-3224. Your request should include a detailed description of the accommodations you need and a way to contact you if we need more information. Please provide advance notice.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,800 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC's Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. "Like" the FTC on Facebook and "follow" us on Twitter.

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