FTC Aims to Help Consumers Shop for Vehicles in Video Series

In four 60-second videos, the FTC offers tips to ensure confidence in the car-buying process

FTC Aims to Help Consumers Shop for Vehicles in Video Series
Image: NCCC
July 8, 2016

Do you need a little bit of a guidance in buying a car? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is here to help.

The agency has released a series of short videos containing critical information to help consumers confidently navigate the vehicle-purchasing process. There are four spots, available in both English and Spanish, running about 60 seconds each.

  • Spotting Deceptive Car Ads: Americans are constantly flooded with car ads, many with offers that seem too good to be true. They usually are. A dealer may advertise low monthly payments, no interest, or zero money down, but these deals almost always come with a catch. For example, a low monthly payment may be contingent on an exorbitant down payment or a low interest rate may require a near-perfect credit score. Consumers should research a dealer's reputation before walking onto the lot.
  • Buying a Used Car: A new car is outside the price range of many consumers, making a used vehicle the way to go. Your first step should be to research options online, to determine what you want and what you can afford. After you get to the lot, pay attention to the buyer's guide posted on the vehicle window to determine if it's being sold with a warranty or as-is. Ask your dealer for a vehicle history report, and bring your prospective purchase to an independent mechanic you can trust. In addition, check to see if there are any active recalls on the vehicle, using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's online recall look-up tool.
  • Financing a Car: You have options when it comes to financing. Banks, credit unions, and auto finance companies may make offers that are more beneficial to you. After choosing your best offer, take those terms to the dealership and see if you can extract a better offer.
  • Understand Car Add-ons: After finalizing the terms of your contract, the salesperson will try to sell you additional products or services, like rust-proofing, fabric protection, gap insurance, or a service contract. You may not need these or you may be able to get them later at a more favorable price. Do research on prospective add-ons before you go to the dealer.

If a dealer isn't honest with you during any portion of your car-buying experience, let the FTC know through the FTC Complaint Assist.