ADVERTISING

ADVERTISING
Be careful when advertising the prices of cars. Most dealers already know that it is a violation of federal law to represent a different Cash Price and a Finance Price.

What many more do not know is that in most every state, if you charge a Sales Fee, this fee must be included in the advertised sales price, or it cannot be charged. Disclosing it separately in the ad is not allowed. It also does not matter if you rename it to try to avoid the requirement.

You also have to be careful about finance representations. Federal law declares that if ANY one of the terms of a Finance Deal is advertised or disclosed to the consumer, that ALL terms of the Finance be disclosed. This is called using “trigger” words or terms. All terms generally means Down Payment, Amount Financed, APR, Payment Terms, and Payment Amount.
What constitutes “advertising?” Quite simply, if the consumer can see/hear/experience it, and it is designed to entice the consumer to interact with the business, it is advertising. This includes even such things as simply putting a price on the window of the car, using a sign-flipper, and any or all other traditional advertising media. Electronic ads include internet websites, postings to sales sites such as Craigslist or Ebay, and emails or faxes. The wording from the federal law is a : “commercial message in any medium that directly or indirectly promotes” a consumer transaction.
Find your state Consumer acts or laws, and read them carefully.  Remember, the Dealer is primarily responsible for the content of the ads, even if those were prepared by someone else. Also look for your state Unfair & Deceptive Trade Practices Act, if it has one. These are called Fair Business Practices Acts in some places.
The NADA published a comprehensive advertising guidebook for dealers. On the internet, search for: NADA Dealer Guide to Federal Advertising Requirements. At the time of this writing, it is available here: NADA.org Press Release.

As always, remember that the Dealer is responsible for knowing and following the laws. 





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