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Maryland's Attorney General Brown Supports FTC Effort to Protect Car Buyers: The CARS Rule Would Protect Consumers During New Vehicle Sales, Financing, and Leasing


The CARS Rule strictly forbids the use of bait-and-switch tactics by dealerships, where they entice customers with false promises and only disclose the truth at a later stage of the transaction.




Attorney General Anthony G. Brown is part of a group of 19 attorneys general who have filed an amicus brief in National Automobile Dealers Association et al. v. FTC, supporting the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) defense of its new Combating Auto Retail Scams (CARS) Trade Regulation Rule.


The rule addresses several persistent unfair and deceptive practices in the auto sales industry. In the brief, filed in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the coalition argues the new FTC rule is a necessary step to protect consumers, as existing law has proven insufficient to stamp out widespread dealer misconduct.


“Consumers must be protected from dishonest auto dealers looking to cheat them into paying for unwanted, unnecessary, and worthless add-ons and services,” said Attorney General Brown. “Purchasing a vehicle can be a long, complicated, and frustrating process. I support the FTC’s efforts to promote fairness, truth, and transparency for those seeking to buy new or used vehicles. No more delays—these consumer safeguards must be put in place now.”


The CARS Rule strictly forbids the use of bait-and-switch tactics by dealerships, where they entice customers with false promises and only disclose the truth at a later stage of the transaction. By this point, consumers have already invested a significant amount of time and effort, leaving them feeling exhausted or coerced into completing the deal.


Additionally, the CARS Rule also prohibits deceptive practices involving hidden or misrepresented charges, especially when it comes to vehicle add-ons. Dealerships often employ deceitful methods to sell these products, such as concealing the additional costs or falsely presenting them as mandatory or essential.


States have a rich history of safeguarding consumers in the automotive sales sector through inquiries, agreements, and enforcement actions. The coalition contends in the document that the CARS Rule tackles the lack of compliance that state attorneys general encounter in their enforcement duties by prohibiting dealers from engaging in misrepresentations and charging for unnecessary add-ons, while also enhancing disclosure and record-keeping standards. The coalition maintains that the CARS Rule supports states in their continuous endeavors to expose and halt unfair and misleading practices in automotive sales.


Attorney General Brown, in submitting the document, aligns with the attorneys general of California, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.



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