On March 14, 2014 the Federal Trade Commission, announced that it had charged an Arkansas Auto Dealership, Abernathy Motor Company, and two of its principals.

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Abernathy Motor Company wasn’t the first or the last to suffer from the scrutiny of the FTC. Back in January of this year, the FTC took down 10 Dealers with ‘Operation Steer Clear’.Failing to display a “Buyer’s Guide” on used vehicles for sale according to the FTC’s Used Car Rule, proved to be a pricey mishap- to the tune of up to 16k for each violation in a civil penalty. OUCH!

So often, dealerships get extremely excited to show off their inventory and in spreading the news of the latest/ hottest deal that we  forget about that pesky fine print. Especially on Social Media. The crazy thing is that being reported to the FTC, your OEM, or your CO-OP has never been so easy for consumers. Ticking off the wrong person can and will put your dealership under a magnifying glass, with just a click of a button. The FTC has provided consumers with every way of possible to reach them. Aside from a quick phone call away, they are on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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There’s nothing new in my noting that big brother is watching, and ready to give you a good pounding across your noggin for not complying. However, what is new is that the FTC is now taking greater measures to examine

advertising that’s posted online or on social media. They are urging the public to report you if you are not on the up on up.

As a matter of fact, according to the FTC, dealerships have actually increased their chances of finding themselves in a pickle by taking ads that might have been OK for print or for TV and putting them online.

Why is that? Well your fine print isn’t optimized for these platforms. So when you copy and paste these once plausibly legible disclaimers- they no longer fit the bill.

However, no need to fret my dear friend. There are enough resources out there to help you steer clear from the FTC Hammer.

Here are a few off the top of my head!

A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule

NADA’s Social Media Policy

Jim Radogna on 10 Must Follow Advertising Guidelines

 

Before I leave you, I urge you, if you know of some more please put it in the comments below! We all need to stick together during these rough times
!