Federal law requires every dealer of used cars to place a Buyer’s Guide in a conspicuous place in or on the car. Federal law also mandates the content of the Buyer’s Guide, and the required content keeps changing as the law is amended. The most recent amendment of the Buyer’s Guide requirement became effective on January 27, 2018.
You need to keep current on the state of the law, because the Federal Trade Commission can impose serious penalties on dealers who fail to comply with it.
Buyer’s Guide Requirements
Space does not permit a full listing of every detail of federal Buyer’s Guide requirements. Nevertheless, some of the more salient aspects of the law include:
The Buyer’s Guide must be conspicuously placed the moment you display the car for sale or allow a prospective customer to inspect it. This rule applies even if the car is not yet prepared for delivery.
The Buyer’s Guide requirement also applies to used cars sold at public auctions. Motorcycles, vehicles sold under a Salvage Certificate, and agricultural equipment (such as tractors) are exempt from the Buyer’s Guide requirement.
The Buyer’s Guide must be posted conspicuously. “Conspicuously” means (i) hanging from the rear-view or side-view mirror); under a windshield wiper; or attached to a side window.
As of January 27, 2018, used cars sold “as-is” must now display the designation “AS IS – THE DEALER DOES NOT PROVIDE A WARRANTY FOR ANY REPAIRS AFTER SALE.” Remember to use upper case letters.
If the car is not being sold “as is,” you must include a notification of the type of warranty that is offered: (i) a dealer’s full warranty or (ii) a limited warranty. In the latter case, the dealer must disclose which systems are covered as well as the duration of coverage.
A notification of any non-dealer warranty offered with the car, including any manufacturer’s warranty, manufacturer’s used vehicle warranty, and any other used vehicle warranty must be included.
The Buyer’s Guide must state whether a service contract is available.
Any “major defects” must be listed and described, and the 2018 amendments require any defects in airbags or catalytic converters to be listed as “major defects.”
Prospective buyers must be advised to obtain a vehicle history report and to check for any open recalls. The guide must also provide the URL for (i) the FTC web page that contains information on how to obtain a vehicle history report (ftc.gov/usedcars) and (ii) the web page that allows prospective buyers to check for open safety recalls (safercar.gov).
If the dealer conducts the sale in the Spanish language, a Spanish-language notification, advising prospective buyers to ask for a Spanish language Buyer’s Guide, must be included.
If you chose to, you can include a signature line on the Buyer’s Guide so that the customer can sign for receipt of the guide (this is a very good idea, by the way). If you include a signature line, you are also required to include the statement “I hereby acknowledge receipt of the Buyers Guide at the closing of this sale” above the signature line (in Spanish if the sale was conducted in Spanish). Use this exact wording.
Contact CKB Vienna for Sound Legal Advice
Any dealer who sells at least six used cars per year is subject to the Buyer’s Guide requirements. If you are concerned about how to comply with federal or state regulations of used car dealers, or if you are involved in a related dispute or administrative action, contact CKB Vienna by calling 909-980-1040, or by contacting us online us online to schedule a consultation with us.
We serve clients in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino County, Los Angeles County, Orange County, and Riverside County.