Skip to Content
| News

Rep. Jayapal, Sen. Markey Urge FTC to Hold Auto Dealers Accountable for Deceptive Pricing, Poor Recordkeeping

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington (June 22, 2023) – Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, led 15 of their colleagues in writing to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan expressing their support for the Motor Vehicle Dealers Trade Regulation Rule and urging the FTC to finalize the strongest possible rule to protect consumers from deceptive and unfair practices. Specifically, the lawmakers urge Chair Khan to require auto dealers provide a comprehensive and binding “offer price” for new vehicles, do away with hidden junk fees in pricing, retain records to enable enforcement and compliance, and ensure that non-English speakers are not discriminated against in the car-buying process.

“We write to support your efforts to address unfair and deceptive practices in the sale, financing, and leasing of motor vehicles by dealers,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter to Chair Khan. “We agree that the practices of some motor vehicle dealers impose substantial financial costs on consumers, and the problems you have identified in the automobile financing market are serious, harmful, and widespread. These practices also hurt honest dealers, making it more difficult and costly for them to compete. The [FTC] should move forward with its rulemaking proceeding […] and adopt a final rule to address these pressing issues.”

The lawmakers continued, “We encourage you to adopt a final rule with these and other provisions to facilitate a more competitive marketplace, address deceptive sales practices that disproportionately burden car buyers of color, and reduce headaches for consumers.”

The lawmakers wrote to Chair Khan urging the FTC to include three key components in its final rule, including language that would require auto dealers to:

  1. Provide a simplified, uniform comprehensive and legally enforceable “Offering Price” for new vehicles that includes all pre-installed and mandatory add-on products, given that dealers often use deceptive pricing in advertisements and mandatory and price-inflated add-ons, which increase vehicle cost and create further confusion and uncertainty about a vehicle’s final price;
  2. Retain records of consumer transactions for seven years or the length of the retail installment sales contract, given that strong recordkeeping requirements better enable enforcement agencies and consumers to ensure compliance; and,
  3. Provide all required disclosures and contractual agreements to consumers in the language in which the transaction was conducted, given that dealers advertise in foreign language publications, employ salespeople who speak other languages, and conduct sales with consumers in a language other than English.

Senate signatories include Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai’i.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). House signers include Representatives Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Greg Casar (TX-04), Barbara Lee (CA-12), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Katie Porter (CA-47), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Mark Takano (CA-39), Rashida Tlaib (MI-12), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12).

Issues: ,