Mad About Misleading Car Fees? The FTC Is, Too.

The FTC is accepting comments on a new rule until next month

Parking lot
Changes could be on the way for the world of automotive sales.
Krzysztof Kotkowicz/Unsplash

As with any major purchase, looking into buying a car requires no small amount of research. But as countless car and truck buyers can attest, what you expect a vehicle to cost and what it actually costs can be two very different things. That can include anything from destination charges to more nebulous fees — all of which have led to frustration and anger as a car or truck buyer realizes that they’re about to pay significantly more than they’d expected.

That might be on the verge of changing. Autoblog’s Jonathon Ramsey reports that the Federal Trade Commission is currently looking into the matter — and is proposing new regulations to prevent misleading charges to enter into the auto-buying equation.

The scope of the regulations isn’t limited to the automotive industry. In a posting, the F.T.C. addressed why they were seeking to take action on this matter: “American consumers, workers, and small businesses today are swamped with junk fees that frustrate consumers, erode trust, impair comparison shopping, and facilitate inflation.” It’s a compelling argument from a host of angles.

And while the F.T.C. is taking a broader look at these fees, they also cite a number of examples that relate directly to cars. In her statement, the agency’s chairperson, Lina M. Khan cited a specific complaint in which “Passport Auto advertised a price for cars that were certified, reconditioned, and inspected. But when people went to buy a car, they were hit with charges for certification, reconditioning, and inspection.”

The F.T.C. is accepting comments through February 8 of this year. Could this end up making a difference — and making a number of car buyers’ lives less stressful? We’ll know before too long.

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