WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized its “Combating Auto Retail Scams” (CARS) Rule, which aims to protect American consumers from bait-and-switch tactics and hidden junk fees when purchasing a new car. Adding to the Biden administration’s ongoing efforts to lower costs for American families by cutting back on corporate profiteering and eradicating junk fees, this new rule is expected to save Americans more than $3.4 billion each year shopping for cars. A review by government watchdog Accountable.US released earlier this year found that in the months since the rule was introduced, the National Auto Dealers Association has donated nearly $65,000 to House Judiciary Republicans while spending over $4.5 million to lobby against the initiative. 

The auto retail industry wouldn’t be spending millions lobbying against the Biden administration crackdown on bait-and-switch tactics and hidden junk fees if these shady practices were rare. Auto retail CEOs and the right-wing lawmakers in their pocket know this Biden initiative will lower costs for everyday families, which is why they’re trying to throw a wrench in the effort. The CARS Rule will bring down costs for consumers by giving them a fair chance to navigate an upfront buying process without tricks and traps.”

Liz Zelnick, Director Accountable.US’ Economic Security and Corporate Power Program. “

Earlier this month, Accountable.US joined a coalition of 28 consumer advocacy groups to strongly oppose industry-backed legislation that would undermine the CARS Rule in a letter, noting: 

  • Consumers overwhelmingly support the FTC’s Auto Dealer Rule. The FTC received  over 25,000 comments in response to its rule proposal in September 2022, with tens of  thousands of consumers expressing vigorous support. 
  • The Auto Dealer Rule is already supported by research, experience and enforcement.  In the past ten years, the FTC has brought more than 50 motor vehicle-related enforcement  actions that show a persistent pattern of discriminatory, unfair, and deceptive conduct. The  FTC also conducted an in-depth qualitative study where it conducted thorough in-person  interviews of car buyers along with a comprehensive review of their purchase and financing  paperwork.
  • The Auto Dealer Rule will save consumers time, money and aggravation. The FTC  estimates that consumers will save at least $30 billion in time savings just through  transparent auto pricing. This is a conservative estimate – consumers will save much more  than $30 billion as a result of the Rule overall.
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