The Federal Trade Commission has announced that it will be holding a series of round table discussions aimed at investigating misleading dealer practices in the areas of sales, financing and leasing. According to the Commission’s release, the round tables will
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 National Auto Dealer’s Association says [via Automotive News [sub]] it will attend the round tables and represent dealers’ efforts to “increase financial literacy” and “promote regulatory compliance.” Auto dealer finance was one of the only finance sectors exempted from the Consumer Financial Protection Act, despite protests from the Pentagon.