Submission Number: 563688-00091
Received: 3/2/2013 10:49:51 AM
Commenter: T. Dean Malone
Agency: Federal Trade Commission
Initiative: 16 CFR Part 455 Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule; Project No. P087604
Attachments: No Attachments
I represent consumers who have been defrauded by car dealers, most often when a car dealer fails to disclose prior damage which is known or should be known to the car dealer. Car dealers, based on their expertise in inspecting, selecting, purchasing, and selling vehicles, are virtually always in a superior position over a consumer to know the actual condition of a vehicle. Most car dealers, due to this expertise, can spot a previously-wrecked vehicle based on a relatively cursory inspection. Consumers do not have such expertise. I have seen a significant number of cases in which car dealers have purchased vehicles at auction which were announced as having frame or unibody damage. Those car dealers then fail to explicitly disclose such knowledge to the consumer. Once car dealers are confronted with such apparent fraud, the typically use boilerplate documents signed and/or purportedly reviewed by consumer to defend the claims. Consumers do not in practice read every word of all documents handed to them in connection with a car or truck sale. In fact, unscrupulous dealers attempt to rush such transactions to avoid full disclosure. The new proposed rule, which purportedly is to give consumers greater disclosure, will in fact be used against them. If the FTC would like to assist consumers with greater disclosure, the form should require explicit disclosure by a car dealer of any known prior wrecks, unibody damage, and/or frame damage. The proposed form will simply allow unscrupulous car dealers to continue to use ambiguity to defend consumer fraud claims.
I urge the FTC to reconsider its decision to change the form. If the FTC believes that a change is necessary, the new form should put the burden on car dealers to explicitly disclose known material damage to vehicles. "Less is more," especially when consumers face the daunting task of reviewing numerous documents connected with a car sale usually in a matter of 5 to 10 minutes after orally finalizing material details of a transaction. Further, the forms should not advise consumers on state law matters, but instead should allow consumer attorneys to advise consumers. Thank you for your consideration.