Where to Complain

Cheated by a shady auto dealer? Scammed over auto financing?
You have lots of company.
Year after year, auto dealers and auto sales rank #1 in consumer complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau. Usually, the agencies are so overwhelmed by complaints they don't have enough resources or staff to handle them all.

The good news -- consumers now have two new cops on the beat in Washington, DC who actually want to hear from you about your car-buying problems. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law, the Federal Trade Commission and newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have new authority to act, to protect consumers. Before, the FTC was preoccupied with home mortgage issues, identity theft, telemarketing abuses, and other types of scams. Now -- for the first time in decades -- it is making auto sales issues a priority.

If you were ripped off by an auto dealer, it's very important to complain to the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction over auto dealers, and can now issue rules to curb unfair and deceptive acts committed by auto dealers. If the FTC gets enough complaints from consumers, it may also take enforcement action, and target individual dealers who have a history of engaging in bad practices. Eventually, that may result in victims receiving restitution or other relief. The agency may also issue a new rule to prohibit the shady practices.

The more consumer complaints the FTC gets, the better. Consumer complaints are a HUGELY important factor in whether the agency decides to act.

Where to complain: www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov

If you were scammed by a dealer who sells only used cars, at a smaller independent car lot, then it's a good idea to also tell your story to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB has jurisdiction over so called "Buy-Here-Pay-Here" car lots, and they are eager to act. Like the FTC, they need to hear from consumers to be able to justify moving forward.

Where to complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: help.consumerfinance.gov/app/vehicleconsumerloan/ask

Note: It may take months for either agency to act. So keep in mind that complaining to them is important, but not a substitute for getting legal advice and taking your own legal action.

To find an attorney who is expert in winning against unscrupulous dealers or manufacturers,
check out the "find an attorney" section at the National Association of Consumer Advocates,
at www.consumeradvocates.org.

Read more: http://www.carconsumers.org/surveys.htm

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Buyer Beware! Auto dealers use
forced arbitration
to get away with cheating customers
Even when car dealers flagrantly violate consumer protection laws, you may not be able to get justice. That's because almost 100% of car dealers stick "forced arbitration" clauses into their contracts. If they cheat you, and you try to take them to court, they can just laugh at you. That's because they can get your case kicked into arbitration -- a secret, rigged process that favors big, corrupt lawbreakers. The dealer often gets to choose the arbitration firm, and even the arbitrator who hears your case. Unlike judges, arbitrators are perfectly free to ignore the law.

Dealers claim that arbitration is quick. But Jon Perz in San Diego had to wait over 8 years in "arbitration limbo" before he finally got justice, after Mossy Toyota sold him an unsafe car. CARS produced a short video exposing what happened. More than 1.3 million people have watched our video on YouTube:
See the billboard CARS displayed
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