Auto Dealer Exemption Defeated in Senate Reform Bill

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on May 21st, 2010

The U.S. Senate passed a major financial reform bill last night, but in the end, a major loophole didn’t see the light of day. As we wrote in the LemonJustice blog a couple of days ago, there was a hard push by auto dealers and their lobbyists to exempt auto dealers from oversight by the new Bureau of Consumer Protection. According to the New York Times, the amendment’s sponsor, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) withdrew the amendment at the eleventh hour. This is wonderful news for consumers – particularly service members who are often victims of auto dealer fraud.

Although the Senate version of the bill and the House version of the bill need to be combined (a process that could take several weeks), it appears as though auto dealers will face much-deserved scrutiny by the new consumer protection agency. That’s a victory for hard-working Americans all across the country.

Congress May Not Protect Service Members Who Are Victims of Auto Scams

Posted by Sergei Lemberg, Esq. on May 19th, 2010

Thanks to Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety for keeping us up-to-date on provisions of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency (part of the financial regulatory overhaul) that would protect American servicemen and servicewomen from unscrupulous automobile sales and financing practices.

Unfortunately, those who are serving our country are all too often the victims of scams like yo-yo financing, falsified credit applications, failure to pay off liens on trade-in vehicles, and excessive dealer markups. The Department of Defense has recognized this problem, and has encouraged the Treasury Department to advocate for the inclusion of oversight of auto financing and sales in the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

As might be expected, lobbyists for car dealers have been pushing back hard, and convinced Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) to introduce an amendment to exempt auto dealers and their lending practices from the financial reform bill. The Military Coalition, comprised of groups ranging from the Veterans of Foreign Wars to the Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America to the Military Officers Association of America wrote to Senate Banking Committee ranking members Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Richard Shelby (R-AL) in opposition of the amendment.

The latest news is that the full Senate may vote on this important issue today. If you agree that our men and women in uniform shouldn’t get scammed, call your U.S. Senator today. You can find his or her phone number by clicking here.

If you are a service member (or are a family member) and have been scammed by auto dealers, you can also let Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety know by clicking here. They’re collecting anecdotal information to help ensure that our troops receive the protections they deserve.