Attorneys general from 40 states — including Iowa — are asking the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen protection for used car buyers. Bill Brauch of the Iowa Attorney General’s office heads the Automobile Working Group for the National Association of Attorneys General. The group wants auto dealers to be more forthcoming about a used car’s history.
Brauch says dealers already post a so-called “Buyer’s Guide” on each car indicating whether there’s a warranty. “We want them to keep that, but we want them to feature more prominently whether the dealer’s aware the vehicle has had prior damage — a salvage title, for example, (or) had water damage, flood damager or been a Lemon Law buy-back,” Brauch says. Under the state’s Lemon Law, a dealer must buy back a defective vehicle that has a major defect or problem that just can’t be fixed in the first 24-thousand miles or 24 months of use. Iowa law already requires dealers to tell buyers about past problems with a car, but consumer advocates want the information posted clearly — right on the vehicle.
“Anyone who’s shopped for a used car has seen these and there’s a box for the dealer to check as to whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty,” Brauch says. “And we’ve asked the Federal Trade Commission to strengthen that rule.” The so-called “Buyer’s Guides” that are posted in vehicle windows have not been significantly changed since 1985, when the “Buyer’s Guide” was introduced.
The National Automobile Dealers Association opposes the changes, arguing that adding new information to the “Buyer’s Guide” about a vehicle’s history would “impose significant, costly and, in some cases, impossible burdens on used car dealers.”