With regulators such as the Federal Trade Commission honing in on advertisements that focus on the financial elements of a vehicle transaction, the National Automobile Dealers Association responded by issuing a new publication during this year’s NADA Convention.
The association highlighted the new guide will assist franchised dealers in complying with federal advertising requirements on the sale, financing and leasing of automotive products and services.
A Dealer Guide to Federal Advertising Requirements provides examples of “bad” ads and “good” ads and chapters on 41 different federal advertising topics, such as the use of discount claims, email advertising, green marketing claims, Internet advertising, satisfaction guarantees and trigger terms. Readers can access the content quickly by clicking the hyperlinked topics in the table of contents page in the PDF document.
“The guide is user friendly and is a valuable resource for the entire auto industry,” outgoing NADA chairman Forrest McConnell said. “We are encouraging dealers to provide the publication to their advertising agencies, manufacturers, finance companies and others involved in advertising operations.”
The release of the guide coincides with recent intense scrutiny by the FTC of dealer compliance with federal advertising standards and follows an NADA University Online webinar on the topic that was presented last March by attorneys with the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices. To access the webinar, NADA members can log in to NADA University Online at www.nadauniversity.com and enter the search term, “Comply with Federal Advertising Requirements.”
Since 2012, the FTC has initiated five separate rounds of advertising enforcement actions against 18 dealers in 12 states for multiple types of advertising violations, including actions against three dealers that the FTC announced last December.
“The guide does not address additional advertising requirements that may be imposed at the state or local level, which vary considerably and need to be fully addressed when dealer ads are reviewed for legal compliance,” said Paul Metrey, NADA chief regulatory counsel.
“It’s essential that dealers consult with their legal counsel to determine — and to ensure that their advertisements are consistent with — the full scope of their advertising responsibilities,” Metrey continued.
Metrey also mentioned this new guide is part of NADA’s Management Series called, Driven. It is available at www.nada.org and will be included in the suite of compliance products at NADA University Online at www.nadauniversity.com.