As auto prices surge, agency launches rulemaking to protect consumers’ pocketbooks and level the playing field for honest dealers. The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a rule to ban junk fees and bait-and-switch advertising tactics that can plague consumers throughout the car-buying experience. As auto prices surge, the Commission is seeking to eliminate the tricks and traps that make it hard or impossible to comparison shop or leave consumers saddled with thousands of dollars in unwanted junk charges. The proposed rule would protect consumers and honest dealers by making the car-buying process clearer and more competitive. It would also allow the Commission to recover money when consumers are misled or charged without their consent.
“As auto prices surge, the Commission is taking comprehensive action to prohibit junk fees, bait-and-switch advertising, and other practices that hit consumers’ pocketbooks,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “Our proposed rule would save consumers time and money and help ensure a level playing field for honest dealers.”
The FTC is taking his step toward establishing a set of guidelines that would provide consumers with key protections against dealers who unlawfully charge junk fees without their consent or engage in bait-and-switch advertising. In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking announced today, the Commission is seeking comment on proposed measures that would:
The notice includes questions for public comment to inform the Commission’s decision-making on the proposal. These include questions about provisions in the proposed rule and whether other provisions should or should not be included in the rule, as well as questions related to the costs and benefits to consumers and auto dealers of the proposed rule. In addition, the notice includes a preliminary regulatory analysis estimating that the net economic benefit of the rule would be more than $29 billion over ten years. After the Commission reviews the comments received, it will decide whether to proceed with issuance of a final rule.
The Illinois EPA has finalized revisions to the 35 Ill. Adm. Code 275, the Electric Vehicle Rebate Program rules. The first application window opened on July 1, 2022.
Illinois residents purchasing a new or used all-electric passenger vehicle or all-electric motorcycle from an Illinois licensed dealer are eligible for the rebate. Applicants that certify as low income are given priority in disbursement of the rebates.
Applicants must apply during a rebate cycle window and within 90 days of purchase of the vehicle. The application and instructions are available on the Illinois EPA’s Electric Vehicle Rebate Program webpage.
Eligibility requirements for an EV rebate in Illinois include, but are not limited to:
Applicants will need to submit the following along with the information contained in the rebate application:
More information can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/ceja/Pages/Electric-Vehicle-Rebates.aspx.
John Eggert of Hardt, Stern, and Kayne has called attention to an amendment to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Retail Installment Sales Act dealing with predatory lending that is scheduled to become effective on August 1, 2022. That amendment will require that on and after August 1, 2022, dealers, in connection with retail installment contracts, will need to deliver a clear and conspicuous Rate Cap Disclosure form to the customer, have that form signed, and retain the signed copy in the deal file. The retailer must provide this separate disclosure in English and in the same language as the retail installment contract. It is advised that you copy this language on to your dealership letterhead and provide it to the customer at the time of sale.
The approved language and form for the Rate Cap Disclosure is as follows:
DISCLOSURE OF 36% RATE CAP
A retailer shall not contract for or receive charges exceeding a 36% annual percentage rate on the unpaid balance of the amount financed for a retail installment contract, as calculated under the Illinois Predatory Loan Prevention Act (PLPA APR).
Any retail installment contract with a PLPA APR over 36% is null and void, such that no person or entity shall have any right to collect, attempt to collect, receive, or retain any principal, fee, interest, or charges related to the retail installment contract.
The annual percentage rate disclosed in any retail installment contract may be lower than the PLPA APR.
Co-Borrower Signature (If Applicable)
The Better Business Bureau would like to caution dealers on reducing their advertised EV prices by the amount of the Illinois EV Rebate Program which is $4000 for all electric vehicles that are not motorcycles. Motorcycles have a $1500 rebate under the program. The program became effective July 1, 2022.
While these State of Illinois rebates save qualifying consumers money on the purchase of EVs, that savings is not connected to the dealer nor the manufacturer and is not an immediate savings. Consumers must apply for the rebate within 90 days of the purchase of the EV and must qualify for it by meeting certain specific standards. Documentation is required to prove the date of the purchase as July 1, 2022, or later.
Dealers who deduct the Illinois EV rebate amount from prices will run afoul of the Illinois Motor Vehicle Advertising Regulations which state that only tax, title, license, and a documentary service fee may be deducted from advertised prices. Rule 475.310.
The Rules allow for the deduction of manufacturer rebates from advertised prices only when the rebates are available to all consumers. Manufacturer rebates available only to certain qualifying consumers may not be deducted from advertised prices. Rule 475.530.
While Rules 475.310 and 530 authorize certain amounts to be excluded from advertised prices, the rebates provided by the Illinois EV Rebate Program are not included in these amounts. The program is a State of Illinois program with no connection to manufacturer offers.
The BBB will monitor EV advertised prices to ensure that consumers understand the actual EV price when they purchase such vehicles. Savings to qualifying consumers occur well after they purchase EVs. The Illinois EV Rebate Program has no impact on the prices consumers will pay at the time of purchase.
The BBB is also aware of the negative competitive impact that will occur if dealers reduce their prices by the amount of the Illinois EV Rebate. The BBB wants to ensure that all dealers who sell EVs are selling in a fair marketplace and will take all appropriate steps to make that happen.
Pete L. Georges, peacefully passed away at home surrounded by friends and family at the age of 90 on Tuesday, June 28, 2022 in Oak Brook, Illinois. Pete began a lifelong career in the automobile business at Esserman Dodge in Chicago. He would go on to work at Merit Chevrolet on 73rd & Stony Island, purchase Ferrell-Hicks Chevrolet on 57th & Ashland with a fellow coworker, and finally buy his own dealership, Pete Georges Chevrolet, on the corner of 95th & Cicero in Oak Lawn, where he'd ultimately retire in 2000.
Visitation will be held at the Conboy-Westchester Funeral Home, 10501 W. Cermak Rd., Westchester on Friday, July 8, 2022, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. All shall meet Saturday, July 9 at Holy Apostles Greek Orthodox Church, 2501 S. Wolf Rd. in Westchester, for a 10 a.m. funeral service followed by entombment at Chapel Hill Gardens West Cemetery. Contributions in memory of Pete can be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Jerry Haggerty, Haggerty Chevrolet, Haggerty Ford and Haggerty Buick-GMC, and Emir Abinion, Fox Lake Buick-GMC and Fox Lake VW, were elected to the CATA Board of Directors just prior to the CATA’s Annual Meeting and Golf Outing on June 14. Incumbents JC Phelan, Jack Phelan Chevrolet and Jack Phelan Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, and Ryan Kelly, Kelly Nissan, also return for another 3-year term.
This was the first CATA election since 2020, as the board of directors deferred the 2021 election due to the COVID pandemic and instead extended the term of all officers by one year to fill the gap. Other members of the 2022-23 CATA Board of Directors include John Crane, Dan Heller, Kevin Keefe, Fred Marks, Dan Marquardt, Steve Phillipos, Jason Roberts, Kelly Webb Roberts, and Richard Wickstrom.
In a separate action at the June CATA Board of Directors meeting, the board approved a new executive committee. Elected to their posts for one-year terms were JC Phelan, Chairman; Kelly Webb Roberts Vice Chairwoman; Jason Roberts, Treasurer; Ryan Kelly, Secretary; and Kevin Keefe was named 2023 Chicago Auto Show Chairman.
Though still somewhat murky in execution, the State of Illinois has further clarified it’s $4,000 EV rebate program. Part of the Climate and Equitable Jobs Act passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Pritzker on Sept. 15, 2021, the Electric Vehicle Rebate program begins in earnest on July 1, 2022.
The program allows Illinois residents who purchase a new or used all-electric passenger vehicles from a dealer licensed by the Illinois Secretary of State to apply for a rebate of up to $4,000. The rebate amount cannot exceed the purchase price of the vehicle. The purchaser must retain ownership of the vehicle for a minimum of 12 consecutive months immediately after the vehicle purchase date. Only one rebate will be issued to a purchaser in any 10-year period. Finally, purchasers must apply for the rebate within 90-days after the vehicle purchase date.
The legislation also allows for incentives for private organizations and companies to install and maintain Level 2 or Level 3 charging stations. Up to 80% of the cost of the installation of charging stations may be funded. Additional awards may incentivize charging infrastructure in eligible communities.
More information can be found here. The state has also posted a FAQ that provides additional details. The Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition will host an Illinois EV Rebate Program Webinar on July 13 at 11 A.M.
On a particularly hot and steamy June 14, the CATA hosted its annual meeting and golf outing at Cog Hill Golf Club in Lemont, Illinois. Due to the COVID pandemic, this was the first time this event was held since 2019.
Utilizing a new event format, CATA Member Benefit Partners hosted a networking reception prior to lunch. As lunch began, nearly 300 members and sponsors were on hand for the annual meeting. Outgoing CATA Chairman Kevin Keefe provided remarks at the luncheon, announcing election results as well as recapping CATA board activities over the past two years.
After lunch, members and sponsors were released to golf on one of three courses utilized for the event. Wrapping up the event was a putting contest sponsored by Protective and a cocktail reception sponsored by ABC 7 Chicago.
On Wednesday, June 22 the CATA hosted a media kick-off designed to drum up media support for the upcoming BBQ for the Troops dealer events. More than a dozen dealers brought vehicles to CATA headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, and were joined by several restored military vehicles and representatives from the USO Illinois signifying the official beginning of the marketing campaign for the event.
Following the presentation of colors by a color guard from Naval Station Great Lakes and singing of the national anthem by Alleece Baker, Christopher Schmidt, Executive Director USO Illinois, stepped to the podium to detail how important this event has become to the USO Illinois and the troops and military families it supports. Following Schmidt, new CATA Chairman JC Phelan stepped up to the mic and talked about the program’s inception 9 years ago, growing from a simple BBQ and donation jar to elaborate celebrations with bands, car shows, dunk tanks, auctions and 21-gun salutes.
Over the event’s history, CATA new-car dealers have helped raise more than $950,000 for the USO Illinois. In an effort to top the $1M mark, more than 50 dealers have already signed up to participate this year.
Dealers interested in hosting a BBQ for the Troops event still have time to register and be included in media promotion. More information is available by contacting CATA Director of Marketing, Jim OBrill by phone at 630-424-6085 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terry D’Arcy, 2005-06 CATA Chairman and dealer principal at D’Arcy Chevrolet Buick Cadillac in Morris, D’Arcy Hyundai and D’Arcy Buick GMC in Joliet, has announced plans to run for mayor of Joliet next spring.
D’Arcy said that he's running for mayor because at 66 years old, he has the time necessary to devote his attention to being mayor of Joliet and he wants to give back to the city.
"I just want to help people," D'Arcy told reporters at a recent news conference.
D'Arcy said he called current Joliet Mayor O'Dekirk and notified him of his decision to run against him in next year's mayoral race for the third largest Illinois city and the county seat of Will County.
"I talked to the mayor and wished him well. I respect him," D'Arcy said of O'Dekirk.
He said that D'Arcy Motors now about 225 total employees between all its locations, and he's in the process of building a new $20 million building on his Essington Road property.
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