Statement on Dangerous FTC Decision on Vehicle Safety Defects

  • December 16, 2016
150 150 Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 16, 2016

Contact: Allison Kennedy, 202-408-1711,

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Shirks Duty to Protect Consumers

Decision by FTC Allows Auto Dealerships to Falsely Advertise Used Cars with Unrepaired, and Potentially Deadly, Defects as Safe and Certified

Statement of Cathy Chase, Vice President of Governmental Affairs

Today’s decision by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was a repudiation of their statutory duty to protect consumers.  By finalizing consent orders with General Motors (GM) and the Lithia and Koons auto dealership chains, which allow them to advertise used cars with unrepaired safety defects under recall using misleading terms, consumers are duped and safety is jeopardized.  The FTC also issued similar proposed consent orders to CarMax, Asbury Automotive Group and West-Herr Automotive Group.  Unsuspecting consumers will be tricked by labels such as safe, repaired for safety, having passed a rigorous inspection, and using the imprimatur of certified.  Families will walk into dealerships to buy cars, be informed that the vehicles have been given a safety stamp of approval, be required to sign a pile of papers with a message tucked in that the car may be subject to unrepaired recalls for safety issues, and will drive off the lot at their own peril and a danger of everyone on the roads.

Cars have been recalled at record-high numbers the last couple of years, yet the FTC’s decision green lights GM and auto dealerships to sell with reckless abandon unsafe and potentially lethal cars.  In fact, 51 million vehicles were recalled in 2015, a new record for the United States.  On Tuesday, the FTC barred a pet food company from making phony claims about the health benefits of dog food.  Families who choose to buy a used car should also be protected from phony claims that jeopardize their health and safety. Unfortunately, the FTC made a wrong and dangerous decision that will affect millions of families who buy a used car with an unrepaired safety defect.