Chicago Automobile Trade Association

Dealer price claims in cross hairs of BBB advertising reviewers

November 3, 2010

The issue of dealer substantiation of price claims has come to the attention of motor vehicle advertising reviewers of the Better Business Bureau.

"It is important to note," said BBB-Chicago President Steve Bernas, "that Illinois dealers must substantiate certain price claims before making the claims. When a dealer claims he has the lowest prices in his trade area, that dealer is required under Rule 475.340 to systematically and continuously monitor his competitors’ prices.

"This must be a regular monitoring and it must be done by dealer personnel, not through customer information or feedback. The monitoring also must be regular and continuous, not just a one-time check on competitor prices.

"Dealers also must be ready to produce this substantiation quickly when asked for it by the BBB. It is not sufficient for the dealer to put together some information after the dealer has been asked to substantiate his lowest prices claims."

Another situation where dealers should monitor prices is when they compare their current price with either their own former price or the price of other dealers in their trade area. This situation does not involve a lowest prices claim but instead covers the situation where the dealer is generally comparing a price or prices to other higher prices without saying his are the lowest. In this context, Bernas said the dealer must substantiate the price claim before making it, to ensure the claim is truthful. He said the BBB may ask dealers to defend a claim. The rule that covers this situation is 475.360.

The Illinois motor vehicle advertising regulations are at



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