In a development relevant to dealerships of all sizes, the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday announced final amendments to its Used Car Rule.
The FTC sought public comments on a series of proposed changes to the rule — formally known as the Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule — that requires dealers to display a window sticker, or “Buyers Guide,” on used vehicles offered for sale.
The guide discloses whether the dealer is offering to sell a used vehicle “as is” (without a warranty), or with a warranty.
If the sale is with a warranty, the FTC explained the guide discloses the terms and conditions, including the duration of coverage, the percentage of total repair costs the dealer will pay and the vehicle systems the warranty covers. In states that do not permit “as is” used-vehicle sales, the regulator pointed out dealers must use an alternative guide that discloses whether the sale is with a warranty or with implied warranties only.
In December 2012, the FTC sought public comments on proposed changes to the Buyers Guide as part of its systematic review of all of the agency’s rules and guides. In response to comments received, the agency sought comments on additional proposed changes to the Used Car Rule and invited comments on alternative approaches that public commenters proposed for the vehicle history disclosure and the “As Is” statement.
As announced on Thursday, the FTC is revising the Buyers Guide by:
—Changing the description of an “As Is” sale.
—Placing boxes on the face of the Buyers Guide that dealers can check to indicate whether a vehicle is covered by a third-party warranty and whether a service contract may be available.
—Providing a box that dealers can check to indicate that an unexpired manufacturer’s warranty applies.
—Adding air bags and catalytic converters to the Buyers Guide’s list of major defects that may occur in used vehicles.
—Adding a statement that directs consumers to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for open recalls. The statement also instructs consumers to visit ftc.gov/usedcars for information on how to obtain a vehicle history report and visit safercar.gov to check for open safety recalls.
—Adding a statement, in Spanish, to the English-language Buyers Guide, and advising Spanish-speaking consumers to ask for the Buyers Guide in Spanish if the dealer is conducting the sale in Spanish.
—Providing a Spanish translation of the statement that dealers may use to obtain a consumer’s acknowledgement of receipt of the Buyers Guide.
FTC officials indicated the amended rule permits dealers to use their remaining stock of Buyers Guides for one year after the effective date of the amended rule.
For used dealers, the FTC offers what’s titled “A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule,” which can be downloaded here.
“Fillable” versions of the Buyers Guide in English and Spanish are available at FTC.gov.
The FTC vote to publish the Notice of Final Rule in the Federal Register was 3-0.