The Federal Trade Commission is starting to build the record, as a precursor to possible action to curb auto sales and financing abuses. This is an important first step, if they are going to exercise the new authority they have over auto dealers' sales and lending practices, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The agency held the first roundtable in Detroit, and held a second one in San Antonio, TX in August that focused on dealer practices and their impact on military Servicemembers and their families. Among those who were invited to be on panels -- Holly Petreaus, Dwain Alexander, and Michael Archer.
This is a historic opportunity to raise awareness at the FTC regarding the problems Servicemembers and their families face. The FTC is actively seeking information, and may well act. No guarantees, but they do have --for the first time -- the authority to write rules under the Administrative Procedures Act, which means instead of taking a decade or more to issue a new rule, they could conceivably issue a new rule in closer to a year. They also have some enforcement authority, so may be able to crack down on illegal activity -- if they have sufficient documentation of widespread problems to act.
Here's a link to the FTC's announcement about the San Antonio roundtable, which includes other links to information about how to send in a comment. The more comments from the military / consumer perspective, the better, so please feel welcome to share this link with anyone you think would be interested, including organizations that provide assistance to Servicemembers and individuals who have been ripped off.
The third -- and probably final -- roundtable is scheduled for Nov. 17 at the FTC headquarters in Washington, DC.
Here's hoping we can persuade the FTC to live up to its consumer watchdog potential --
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
1303 J Street, Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95814