The agency is also considering new rules on dealerships’ advertising related to the cost of the vehicle itself.
- Bans on all products without benefit. Dealerships would no longer be able to sell “nitrogen-filled tire related-products or services that contain no more nitrogen than naturally exists in the air” or coverage duplicating the vehicle’s warranty. Guaranteed asset protection (“GAP”), which covers the difference between a loan balance and the vehicle’s cash value in the event of a total loss, also would be forbidden “if the consumer’s vehicle or neighborhood is excluded from coverage or the loan-to-value ratio would result in the consumer not benefiting financially from the product or service.”
- Posting a list of all optional add-ons and their prices online. Any ads would have to offer a website link to that list. If the price of the F&I products vary, dealerships could instead post a range “the typical consumer would pay.” Add-ons are defined as anything sold by a dealership not provided by the automaker, including intangible F&I coverage.
- Bans on misleading pricing advertising.
- Disclosure and declination in writing of the “Cash Price without Optional Add-ons.” The customer would have to be told the price of the car, with and without financing, were they to decline all optional additions and F&I coverages. If the customer agrees to pay something different, both they and a dealership manager must sign a document saying so.
- “Express, Informed Consent” on F&I products and other add-ons. It would have to be “an affirmative act communicating unambiguous assent” and go beyond “a signed or initialed document, by itself” or “prechecked boxes,” the FTC said.