VW Dealers Must Clearly State Buyback Terms FTC says alternative offers cannot confuse diesel owners
Starting this fall (pending court approval) Volkswagen will be rolling out its ten-billion dollar settlement to compensate the owners of VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars. The FTC will be closely monitoring eligible dealers who are participating in this process to make sure no customers are misled about the details of the settlement. Vehicle owners will be able to register for a cash buyback, which is greater than the car’s replacement value; or, they can have their vehicle modified and receive a separate cash payment. While VW dealers can extend alternate refund/replacement offers to affected owners, the FTC is warning GNYADA frequently receives calls asking if dealers can charge cus- tomers for waste disposal (or environ- mental fees) and shop supply charges. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, a dealer may impose a reasonable charge for the disposal of waste materials, except for motor oil, batteries, and tires. Charges for the disposal of all other wastes (antifreeze, brake fluid, sol- vents, etc.) must be clearly identified and itemized in all estimates and repair orders. Dealers may not use preprinted fees or percentage based fees. Note: Do not mislabel your disposal fees as hazardous waste fees. Most of the waste you’re generating isn’t
automotive companies — including franchised VW dealerships — to use extreme care and transparency in reaching out to these customers. Any such contact must abide by the following: They must not imply that the offer is part of the $10 billion settlement. It cannot suggest that owners who opt for the cash refund must put that cash toward a new VW or Audi. That money is theirs to use as they wish. Hard-sell terms (such as “Act now!") should be avoided entirely, as they risk influencing owners to make rash decisions, rather than n n n hazardous; labeling it as such obli- gates you to treat it differently. Used Oil: New York State Environmental Conservation Law prohibits dealers from charging for accepting waste oil. During regular business hours, dealers are obligated to take up to five gallons of used oil per day from an individual. Dealers are required to post a conspicuous sign stating: We Accept Used Oil for Recycling at No Charge. Batteries: New York law requires retailers to accept up to two batteries per month per individual at no charge. Again, a conspicuous sign is required that states: It is illegal to discard vehi- cle batteries. State law requires us to accept vehicle batteries at no charge for recycling.
fully review the complete details of the VW settlement.
The FTC’s goal is to empower consumers to assess the various options for themselves, and base their decision upon that. VW dealers who wish to offer customers trade-ups, extended free service, or any other incentives relating to this diesel fix, must disclose that their offer is separate from, and not necessarily more valuable than, what they might receive under the official VW settlement. The settlement can be viewed in full at VWCourtSettlement.com .
9 Disposal Fees for Waste Products: To Charge or Not to Charge
Tires: Dealers may not charge for accepting waste tires that are similar in size and quantity to the number of tires purchased by your customer. New York State requires sellers of new tires to collect a $2.50 Waste Tire Fee for every new tire sold. The fee must be itemized on all estimates and repair orders. However, you may incorporate disposal costs into the price of the new tire. And again, an official sign must be posted. GNYADA has a supply of the required Oil, Tire and Battery disposal signs available at no charge to members. Please call 718.746.5900 to request signs.
Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association • www.gnyada.com