May 17, 2010
Auto Dealers Do Not Have a Right to Rip Off Consumers
Statement of Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen
It’s hard to imagine why auto dealers think they have a right to rip off consumers. Consumers have a right to be protected from lemon car loans just as surely as they do from lemon cars themselves.
Auto dealers are swarming Capitol Hill, pleading for a special deal to exempt auto loans from the jurisdiction of a new consumer financial protection bureau.
Yet auto lending is so abusive, so frequently, that even the Pentagon has weighed in, urging that auto lending be covered by the new consumer protection bureau. Auto dealers target service people – most of whom are young and with a steady pay check, but commonly with little financial sophistication – to such an extent that the Pentagon says predatory auto lending threatens military readiness.
It’s not just service people who are affected, of course. The Pentagon’s intervention in the debate highlights how serious a problem predatory auto loans are for those entrapped by them.
As Congress prepares to vote on a special deal for auto dealers, it once again faces a simple choice: a vote for consumers and constituents, or a well-heeled special interest.
Note: See http://www.citizen.org/pressroom/pressroomredirect.cfm?ID=2836 for more information about this issue.
Public Citizen is a national, nonprofit consumer advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.citizen.org.