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Compliance

Take Action Now!

The retail automotive industry is buzzing about the Federal Trade Commission’s recent proposed changes to regulations impacting federal advertising laws and prohibitions on unfair and deceptive dealership practices. The 37-page document outlines six key areas the agency would like to address:

  • Full up-front pricing, costs and finance disclosures
  • Sales process disclosures
  • Add-on product benefits
  • Bait & switch
  • Surprise junk fees
  • Record retention

The public commentary period closes on September 12, at which time the agency will evaluate the responses and make a final ruling. Industry associations – including NADA – requested an extension to the 60-day review period proposal, which the FTC declined.

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EFG Companies

What a New CFPB Director Means for Auto Dealers

On September 30, the U.S. Senate confirmed a new Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Rohit Chopra, formerly with the Federal Trade Commission, brings an enforcement mindset to his new role.

Chopra, 39, will serve a five-year term at the helm of the Bureau. He has a long history with the organization, which was created in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2008. He worked closely with Senator Elizabeth Warren on establishing the Bureau, then joined it in 2011 to investigate industry abuses in the student lending market.

His appointment comes at an interesting time for automotive dealers and lenders. As FTC Commissioner, Chopra actively pursued auto dealers perceived of implementing discriminatory practices. He also was a vocal proponent for more protections for consumers, specifically regarding auto lending abuses of all minority demographics and military families.

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Compliance

The Current Climate for Regulatory Compliance

The retail automotive market has found itself in an interesting situation. On one hand, retail sales are rebounding nicely, with strong price pressure coupled with continued low interest rates. On the other hand, all signs are pointing to an increased environment for regulatory scrutiny from an  hyper-focused Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and various local officials.

New leadership within the CFPB has signaled through their rulemaking agenda that automotive lending practices will garner increased scrutiny. New legislative bodies within state and local governments in many areas have followed suit to respond to discriminatory lending practices and perceived predatory consumer behavior.

Couple this renewed regulatory interest and sales environment, with a host of new fraud and cybersecurity schemes that can trip up any company, no matter how big, and the situation gets even more convoluted.