Summit County officials are striving to make sure consumers are not “taken for a ride” when they buy a used vehicle. Summit County Executive Russell Pry released preliminary findings from a used car dealership consumer protection sweep during a press conference Monday.
“Preliminary results from the sweep indicate that 82 of the 95 used car dealerships operating in Summit County are in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission's used Car Rule,” stated Pry in a press release issued by his office.
The F.T.C. Used Care Rule requires auto dealers to feature a Buyers Guide on any vehicle being presented for sale. The Guide is a disclosure document that gives consumers important purchasing and warranty information.
For example, a Buyer's Guide tells customers:
- Whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty
- What percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty
- That oral promises are difficult to enforce
- To get all promises in writing
- To keep the Buyer's Guide for reference after the sale
- The major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, as well as some of the serious problems that could occur
- To ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before they buy
“At the start of the sweep, in September 2009, there was only a 53% compliance rate,” said Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs Director Cynthia Sich. “ As a result of our communication with these dealerships, we are now seeing an 86.3% compliance rate. Our goal is to see a 100% compliance rate by the end of the sweep”.
Dealerships that fail to comply with the Federal Trade Commission's Used Car Rule may be hit with fines and lawsuits.
The Summit County Office of Consumer Affairs plans to release the final results of the consumer protection sweep in late-March 2010.
Citizens interested in learning more about how to protect themselves from frauds, identity theft and scams are invited to attend the "Surviving the Economy" information fair. The free event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, 2010, from 1 - 4 pm., at the Twinsburg Community Center, located at 10260 Ravenna Road in Twinsburg. The public is welcome.
For more information contact the County of Summit Office of Consumer Affairs at 330-643-2879.
To view the National Consumer Protection Week calendar of events in full, visit .