ATLANTA — The federal government wants to ban so-called “junk fees” that are slipped into the paperwork when you buy a car.
Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray first reported on the fees in the spring. They can add up to thousands of extra dollars, and in Georgia, consumers who are tricked into paying these junk fees have had little legal recourse because they signed the paperwork.
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Now, a new rule from the Federal Trade Commission would better protect you at the dealership.
“The reason we stepped into this case is because car buying is a long and complicated process with extensive paperwork, and dishonest dealers take advantage of that,” Dan Dwyer with the FTC said.
Back in April, Channel 2 Investigates showed you how 80-year-old Edward Moore paid nearly $10,000 more for his Mercedes than he thought he agreed to at Grand Motors in Marietta.
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The final sale included expensive add-ons, like a $4,500 paint protection plan.
“What would I need it for?” Moore said. “A paint job wouldn’t cost that much. Who would ever want a $4,500 paint protection plan on a $19,000 car?”
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In Moore’s case, he got his money back after Channel 2 Action News stepped in.
In the proposed new FTC rule, the agency plans to ban worthless fees at the dealer and require that dealers clearly notify customers about extra charges both verbally and in writing.
They would also need to provide customers the cost without the add-ons.
“People may be handed a long contract after hours at the dealership that’s different than what they negotiated, and that makes it hard to spot charges,” Dwyer said.
The proposed changes are open for public comment before the FTC has a vote on the final language.
By spelling out what is and is not allowed, the rule gives the FTC more power to take action against car dealers who violate the new rule.
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