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Privacy Notices

December 22, 2010
The issuance of a privacy notice has been required since 2001, under the FTC Privacy Rule. A revised Model Privacy Notice affords dealers safe harbor protection, but only if they use the new model notice.

As a result, there is little reason for dealers not to adopt the new Model Privacy Notice as the template for their privacy notices. The model might not adequately address every dealer's information-sharing practices, so the disclosures must be adjusted accordingly.

But a dealership would quickly lose its safe harbor protection if, in any redesign, the fonts are different or larger, any language or the tabular format is changed, or even if the amount of white space on the page-an aspect of readability-is changed.

There are three Model Privacy Notice forms. The first does not provide an opt-out. The second provides an opt-out by telephone and Internet, and the third provides an opt-out with a mail-in form. Instructions on when to use each is online at
Each Model Privacy Notice form consists of two pages and may be printed either on two separate sheets of paper or on both sides of a single sheet. The notice may extend to a third page if there is a long list of affiliates or additional information that must be disclosed and which exceeds the space available on Page 2.
There are five parts to the first page: (i) The title, (ii) an introductory section called the "key frame," which provides context, (iii) a disclosure table that describes the types of sharing used by dealers, which types of sharing the dealer actually does, and whether the consumer can limit or opt-out of any of the dealer's sharing, (iv) a box titled "To limit our sharing" (if the dealer offers an opt-out), and (v) the dealer's customer service contact information. The dealer will also identify on the first page, the last date the notice was revised. If an opt-out is offered, the opt-out form is included on the first page.
Page 2 consists of: (i) A heading, (ii) certain frequently asked questions (''Who are we?'' and ''What do we do?''), (iii) key definitions, and (iv) a section entitled "Other Important Information,'' where required state disclosures or an optional acknowledgment of receipt form can be provided.
The Model Privacy Notice must be printed in an easily readable type font and, except where specifically provided, must be in at least 10-point type. Dealers may include their logo on any of the pages so long as it does not interfere with the readability of the notice or the space constraints of each page.