Sales or Sanctions: What Do You Get From Your Dealership Advertising?

Car dealers face compliance concerns in all areas of the business – credit applications, service contracts, overdue balance collection letters, and an endless list of other topics. You might not think of your dealership’s digital marketing when doing a compliance audit, but the FTC is working hard to make sure it becomes a bigger priority.

According to FTC spokesperson Cheryl Warner in a recent Automotive News article, more than 20 cases of deceptive advertising have been filed against dealers since 2012. The latest cases involved violations of the Consumer Leasing Act and the Truth in Lending Act.

“The FTC and our law enforcement partners nationwide continue to monitor this space closely, and are committed to actively combating a broad spectrum of unlawful auto practices,” warns Warner in the article.

What happens if you fail to comply? They’ll hit you right in the profits. Once a dealership is issued an order by the FTC, their advertising practices can be on probation for up to 20 years, with violations resulting in daily fines up to $16,000.

Earlier this year, the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) issued a user-friendly resource manual for FTC compliance. The full Dealer Guide to Federal Advertising Requirements can be downloaded here.

In the press release announcing the guide, Paul Metrey, NADA chief counsel, explained, “The guide does not address additional advertising requirements that may be imposed at the state or local level, which vary considerably and need to be fully addressed when dealer ads are reviewed for legal compliance. It's essential that dealers consult with their legal counsel to determine – and to ensure that their advertisements are consistent with – the full scope of their advertising responsibilities.”

That’s a lot of responsibility in the area of marketing alone. Then you still have the rest of the dealership’s operations to consider. There are other companies qualified to help dealers with compliance issues in all of those areas, but for marketing, you have Naked Lime.

Sure, you can try to do your advertising on your own, in-house. But some things are just too important to be handled by anyone other than a professional. Naked Lime will partner with you to help make sure your email marketing, direct mail offers, and digital ads lead to sales, not sanctions.