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FTC to used car dealers: Play by the rules or pay the price

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The FTC’s Used Car Rule has been the law of the land since 1985. It requires used car dealers to post a Buyers Guide on cars they offer for sale. The Guide gives customers important warranty and other information to help them make an informed buying decision.

So when Abernathy Motor Company failed to display a single Buyers Guide on all of the used cars for sale at its Jonesboro, Arkansas location — even after the FTC warned the company about the violationthe agency said it’s time to pay the piper. Each violation could result in a civil penalty of $16,000.

The FTC’s Buyers Guide must tell you:

  • whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty
  • what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty
  • that spoken promises are difficult to enforce
  • to get all promises in writing
  • to keep the Buyers Guide for reference after the sale
  • the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for
  • to ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy

The back of the Buyers Guide must list the name and address of the dealership, and include the name and phone number of the contact at the dealership in case you have problems or complaints after the sale.

So if you’re shopping for a used car at a dealer, make sure the Buyers Guide is displayed. If not, the FTC wants to hear about it. By the way, if you buy a used car and the sales discussion is conducted in Spanish, you are entitled to see and keep a Spanish-language version of the Buyers Guide.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Is a dealership required to disclose if the motor is not the orginial motor in a used vehicle? Truck had about 200,000 miles on odometer and no mention of motor swaps or rebuilds, had one problem after another (someone had filled front 4-wheel drive on one side with SPRAY FOAM) I guess the dealership didn’t do an inspection on it prior to resale, motor is now blown and upon inspection it’s not the original. Any recourse? Bought as is, but uninformed.

The FTC’s Buyers Guide must tell you certain things (that are listed in this blog), including:

  • whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty
  • the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for
  • to ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy

You could contact your state Attorney General to ask about consumer protection in your state.

What if a car dealership in Texas offers a used car for a low price on their website, do they have to sell the car for that price?

Last year I brought a 2013 Mercedes Benz e350 4 matic I had new tires put on this week. The mechine checked the alignment and said the alignment need to go to the dealer but did not say why they could not do it . Now I am a little scared what could be wrong the car runs and drives fine

If I filed a complaint against a dealership and it goes over 30 days do they still have to make the repairs.

I bought a Kia 2 years ago. The Buyers guide states it had a 150 point inspection done and it has a Kia CPO warranty. The window sticker had CPO. I just found out the car was never certified and didn’t have an extended warranty?

You could talk with the dealer about that, report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, and contact your state Attorney General.

Hello, I bought a "New Car" at the new car rate in December, Just recently I was going through the handbook in the glove box and found that this car was previously owned or being bought by someone else, they left the insurance card and previous window sticker information folded up together in the manual. What can I do?

You could talk with the dealer about that, report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, and contact your state Attorney General.

I bought a car with broken frame for 2800 usd. The buyers guide isn't filled out on back and no sale date. Can this help me

You could report the Buyers Guide issue to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

I bought a used truck from a used car auto lot on 04/12/18 I bought as is but noticed that the window sticker with the options the truck was supposed to have like Onstar, alloy wheels,CD-mp3 player were not in the truck I called the dealer back Ireally like the truck and only got $200 back was there someting else I could have done or got?

I bought 2008 Saturn vue . Had for 3 months and the speedometer was broken., the odometer was working.They put on new speedometer with less miles on odometer. Now found out transmission going out. Electrical connections corroded. Bottom of motor knocking and Check engine light not working. Mechanic believes was a flooded car. What are my option. No buyers guide was posted.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Used Car Rule requires dealers to display a Buyers Guide on every used car they offer for sale, and to give it to buyers after the sale. Maine and Wisconsin are exempt from the FTC’s Used Car Rule. Those states require dealers to display a different version of the Buyers Guide.

You can report a dealer that did not post a Buyers Guide to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

You can also contact your state Attorney General and consumer protection agencies in your city or county.

Bought a used 2012 Honda Accord from dealer. Had the car a month and suddenly while driving, a loud whining noise came. I took the car to another Honda dealership because I was afraid to drive it. They found that the steering column had a bad leak
Which was allowing air to enter the system causing the whining noise. Plus another rear axel leak. They have to replace the steering box column. The car obviously had the two leaks when I bought the car but was told that the dealer makes sure. That the car is good before selling. What is my recourse?

The Buyers Guide on the used car must tell you whether the car was sold "as is" or with a warranty. The Guide also tells you:

  • that spoken promises are difficult to enforce
  • the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for
  • to ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy.

If the car did not have a Buyers Guide on it, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

I purchase a vehicle over a month ago a 2009 Audi Q7 however
I’ve been having problems with vehicle the same week.
The dealer promised to fixe it verbally however they haven’t, on top of that I just left my job because my son had surgery and I was unable to go to work I had to take him to school and drop him off since hes currently on crutches. The dealer tried to repo my car since I’m not working however I am self employed so they made me put the truck under my boyfriends name. I noticed something really off though when I purchased vehicle I put 3000 dwn as a payment but they told me that they are going to put that I put 1000 dwn and I would get a big discount on the car so I was like I guess however when my boyfriend put the car under his name they did the same thing they said give us 500$ dwn and we will take a other 1000$ off they said they knew what they were doing with the finance company. We’re they violating my rights?

If you gave the dealer $3,000 down, but the papers say you gave him only $1,000 down, it seems like you didn't get credit for $2,000 you really paid.

Look at your paperwork about the purchase of the car, and the financing for the car. If the paperwork does not look correct,  you could talk to the car dealer. If he will not correct it, you could call the Attorney General in your state. This page lists the Attorneys General in all states.

I bought a vehicle and later discovered the car had structural and frame damage. It was not disclosed to me at the time. It showed up on auto check but not on carfax but was disclosed at the auction. What are my options

My title and paperwork says that the car is a 2004, the dealership says it is a 2006. What does this mean

I recently bought a used car. It was my first time ever purchasing a car. 6900 for a 2010 jeep patriot. When I inquired about any problems it may have the dealer said they couldn't give me a report. 2 weeks later the alternator, pulley, and serpentine belt all went out and I could not drive it. I asked the car lot about it and they said I could take it to them and they would fix it for free. They called me today and said that it was fixed but they are going to charge me half of the bill.

Federal law requires used car dealers to post a Buyers Guide on cars they offer for sale. The FTC’s Buyers Guide must tell you many things, including:

  • whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty
  • what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty

Look at the top of this blog to see what else the Buyers Guide must tell you. If the car you bought did not have a Buyers Guide, report that to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint.

You can tell the dealer you were supposed to get a Buyers Guide that listed that important information. You could contact the Attorney General in your state to ask what other protection you have.

I am in a legal battle with a car dealer who sold me a car with numerous issues that he was aware of, yet sold the car to me as a "trade in". He got it at an insurance/salvage auction, car had been a rental in its past. Anyway, he never gave me the buyers guide, when I submitted to the BBB he sent them the buyers guide. When I looked at it, it has my signature but the date wasn't written by me. I am exhausted with this whole process and sick that dealers are allowed to sell cars that fail inspections in one state, and flip them in another that doesn't require an inspection. This dealer does not see anything wrong with this and continues to fight me.

I purchased a used gmc pickup from a dealer the salesman said it was 4 wheel drive after I purchased the vehicle I stopped at gm dealer got build sheet found out it was only 2 wheel drive what do Now.

how can I prove that a dealership didn't give me a buyers guide?

Purchased a 2008 Ford F-250 at reputable car lot. Asked specifically if it had been checked for any mechanical issues, was assured that it was checked out. Bought "as is"! I've had the truck a week and a half and had to have wrecker pick it up because transmission won't go into 3rd!! What can I do?? I can't afford a new transmission on a $19000 truck I just purchased!!

I got a 2010 Town and Country minivan from a dealer. I purchased the car May 8th and a week later the car will was shaking whenever I was going about 55-60 miles an hour and then applied the breaks. I took it back to the dealer and told him what was going on. Come to find out it was the brakes and rotors needed change they are real bad. And told me that he cannot do nothing about it but you could get me a good deal on a place to change them for me. Can this used car lot sell me a car with bad brakes and not change them without charge? There is no warranty.

Does someone neef to tell a dealership if there car was in a minor accident when trading it in, in Pennsylvania

Can a contract on a finance vehicle still be valid if the driver has a invalid driver license?

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