AUTO DEALER SALES DEPARTMENT LEGAL COMPLIANCE

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1 FINANCE & INSURANCE ADVERTISING WARRANTIES PRIVACY INFORMATION SAFEGUARDS IDENTITY THEFT ADVERSE ACTION NOTICES TELEMARKETING OFAC CASH REPORTING SIGNS AND NOTICES DEALER PLATES California Edition

2 California Edition DEPARTMENT LEGAL COMPLIANCE Table of Contents Introduction Deceptive Practices Payment Packing New or Used? History Disclosure Certified Pre-Owned Hidden Finance Charges Pre-Contract Disclosures Credit Score Disclosure Fees Credit Applications Credit Reports Adverse Action Notices Purchase Proposals Single Document Rule Deferred Downpayment Negative Equity Installment Contracts Lease Agreements Right To Rescind Disclosure Requirement Language Translations Contract Cancellation Co-signer Notice Credit Card Surcharges Privacy Notices Information Safeguards OFAC Screening Cash Reporting Records Retention Verifying Identity Advertising Buyers Guides Warranties Smog Certification Do Not Call Lists Signs & Notices Dealer Plates Front License Plates 7,500 Mile Rule Selling To Minors Offsite Sales Consignment Sales Best Practices

3 3 WHY DOES TRAINING MATTER? Automobile dealerships are among the most heavily regulated industries in the nation. According to NADA, motor vehicle dealers must comply with over 85 different federal regulations, and states have additional and differing regulations. Applicable laws and agencies that affect dealerships include: Automobile Sales Finance Act (ASFA) Business and Professions Code Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) California Vehicle Leasing Act (CVLA) Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA) Unfair Competition Law Regulation Z Department of Motor Vehicles Federal Consumer Leasing Act (FCLA) Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) FTC Used Car Rule Department of Consumer Affairs Internal Revenue Service (IRS) California Vehicle Code Regulation B Regulation M Truth in Lending Act (TILA) California Car Buyer Bill Of Rights (AB 68) Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act California Air Resources Board (CARB) Office of the Attorney General

4 4 POTENTIAL PRICE OF NON- COMPLIANCE * Directly assessed punitive damages are not insurable in California. California Insurance Code section 533 prohibits recovery of punitive damages from an insurer. In addition, California Insurance Code 533, which provides that an insurer is not liable for a loss caused by the willful act of the insured, is an implied exclusionary clause statutorily read into all insurance policies.

5 5 THE LITIGATION CRAZE

6 6

7 7 Examples of practices that are likely to be considered deceptive or unfair: Payment packing (described in the next section). Misleading statements about APR, such as You won t be able to get a better interest rate than this. (Instead, it is preferable to use phrases such as We feel that our rates are very competitive ).

8 8 Examples of practices that are likely to be considered deceptive or unfair: Misleading a consumer about the amount of incentives available (such as rebates) or the actual value of their trade-in vehicle. Yo-yo financing deliberately delivering a vehicle with terms that the consumer will most likely not qualify for, with the intention of having the customer re-write the contract under less desirable terms. A high percentage of re-contracting may indicate that yo-yo financing has occurred. Informing a buyer that financing for the car will not be approved unless the buyer purchases a service contract, insurance or other products. Leading a consumer to believe that he or she is purchasing a vehicle when it is in fact a lease. Failing to disclose dealer-added accessories on advertised vehicles.

9 9 Examples of practices that are likely to be considered deceptive or unfair: Leading a consumer to believe that the dealer will be assuming all liability under the lease of a trade-in vehicle, when the dealer intends to only make the final lease payments and assume no other liability, such as excess wear and tear or over-mileage. Oral promises made to the customer that the dealer fails to deliver upon. Bait & Switch - Advertising vehicles with the intent not to sell them as advertised. False or misleading advertising.

10 10 Examples of practices that are likely to be considered deceptive or unfair: Failure to disclose vehicle history, such as that the vehicle was previously used as a rental, a demonstrator or was previously sold and returned. Representing that vehicles are new when they are in fact, used. Representing that vehicles are of a particular standard, quality, or grade when they are not. Misrepresenting discounts in advertising and not disclosing important limitations. Making false or misleading statements of fact concerning reasons for, existence of, or amounts of price reductions. Price-Gouging or overcharging for finance and insurance products.

11 11

12 12 Case History Seven former senior managers at a Chevrolet dealership were convicted of defrauding their customers. The indictment alleged the seven committed 111 overt acts of defrauding customers by overcharging them for theft-protection packages and subsequent attempts to cover up illegal practices. The dealership also paid restitution in the amount of $2.1 million.

13 13 Case History In one case, a dealership allegedly targeted customers with bad credit, allowing them to take home cars before the deal was completed by leaving them with the impression that there were only a few more details to go over. According to the plaintiff s attorney, the dealership will let customers with credit that they know will be rejected take vehicles home regardless. The customers are then called in later, informed that their credit was not approved, and pressured to buy the car anyway. The dealership s general manager allegedly told his staff: Most of these people will never come back. This means you got only this one chance to f--k them.

14 14 Case History A jury returned a verdict on May 7, 2009 in a lawsuit brought by a consumer against a dealership that engaged in a false, misleading, or deceptive act or practice that was a producing cause of damages to the consumer. The jury also returned a total verdict of over $140,000, divided between the two defendants.

15 15 Case History A Los Angeles area dealer agreed to an injunction and more than $650,000 in monetary relief as settlement of a deceptive practices civil lawsuit filed by the District Attorney s Consumer Protection Division. The monetary relief includes up to $406,908 in direct restitution to Los Angeles County consumers and $247,350 in investigative costs and civil penalties. The civil action alleging deceptive sales and leasing practices is one of a series of car dealership cases being handled by the Consumer Protection Division. It was alleged that there were misrepresentations of charges for aftermarket products including key chains, logo pens, theftetch services and warranty programs. As a result, large, undisclosed charges were built into transactions.

16 16 Case History Felony charges were brought against three former car salesmen accused of stealing from customers by persuading them to lease, rather than buy, vehicles at higher costs. The defendants were indicted by the Los Angeles County Grand Jury. The charges involve a scheme in which the defendants, then assistant sales managers, persuaded customers to lease, rather than buy vehicles. Misrepresentations, including the amount of monthly payments in a purchase, were made to consumers who wanted to buy vehicles in order to steer them to the higher-cost lease agreement. All were arrested by DMV investigators and charged with four counts each of grand theft of personal property.

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