FTC settlement details released involving West-Herr advertising

Posted at 11:37 AM, Apr 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-05 14:09:50-04

West-Herr is among three automotive groups settling charges for not adequately disclosing information about their used cars. 

The Federal Trade Commission approved the final orders for settling charges in which CarMax, Asbury Automotive Group and West-Herr Automotive Group claimed their used cars were rigorously inspected, but failed to reveal that some cars had unrepaired safety recalls.

West Herr says signed an advertising agreement with the FTC last year after the FTC concluded an inquiry into an advertising statement. The automotive group says "no fines or penalties were ever proposed or issued."

"The inquiry arose from the use of the word 'rigorous' on one webpage of the auto group's website during a 15-month period in 2014-2015 and while the webpage was viewed by less than 1% of our customers, the requested changes were adopted almost 2 years ago," COO of the West Herr Automotive Group Jed Hunter said.

According to the FTC, the three groups can no longer claim their used vehicles are safe, have been repaired for safety issues or have been rigorously inspected, unless they do not have any open recalls, or the companies clearly state that their vehicles may have unrepaired recalls for safety issues. They must also instruct customers of how they can check a vehicle's recall status.

The companies also cannot present misleading information about the safety or recall status of the used cars they advertise.

The FTC also says recent customers need to be notified by mail that the vehicles they bought as far back as July 1 may have open recalls.

West Herr says other large auto groups around the country have been required to make similar advertising changes.

West Herr says recalls and consumer safety are extremely important.

"With over 100 million recalls announced in the last two years, this is an extremely complex issue involving manufacturers, consumers, dealers, and government agencies," said Hunter. "We have been, and continue to be, an industry leading dealer group with respect to repair processes, consumer disclosures, and transparency."