Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

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November 21, 2008

Attorney General Hardy Myers Presses Federal Trade Commission To Toughen Used Car Disclosure Rules

Forty-two States and Territories Want the Buyer's Guide To Contain Notice of Damage History

Attorney General Hardy Myers today joined forty-one states and territories in asking the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to strengthen "Buyer's Guide" notices to indicate if used cars, trucks or SUVs that are for sale have had their titles "branded" to indicate past flood or collision damage.

"All the Attorneys General agree that although the warranty information is valuable for used-car buyers, we should go further and include any prior damage and prior use in the vehicle's history," Myers said.

Under the FTC's "Used Car Rule," Buyer's Guide notices must be posted on used vehicles offered for sale. The current Rule requires Buyer's Guide notices to tell prospective buyers whether the used car is offered with a warranty, or is being sold "as-is" without a warranty.

The letter to the FTC goes on to declare that "nothing diminishes the market value of a used vehicle more than detrimental history." Myers explained that amending the Buyer's Guide to require this information would help prevent fraud and omissions of material fact. "The most material fact one can know about a used vehicle is its damage history, title, and Lemon Law history," Myers added.

The Attorneys General commented that such damaged vehicles also may pose safety hazards to consumers, and that manufacturers void warranties on vehicles with damage histories.

In their comments to the FTC, the states noted that Wisconsin already requires prior-damage information to be disclosed on their Buyer's Guide, and that the FTC approved the Wisconsin regulation.

"As goes Wisconsin, so should the FTC," Myers said. "There simply is no excuse for the national Buyer's Guide to not include vehicle history and title brand information." Dealers can easily obtain the needed information through private data sources and through title records accompanying vehicles they purchase at auction or take in trade. This hasn't proved to be a difficult task for the Wisconsin dealers, and it should be required of the rest of the nation's dealers."

Joining Oregon in the letter were Attorneys General of 39 other states and two territories: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the Northern Mariana Islands.


Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) jan.margosian@doj.state.or.us |
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