Privacy Policy and Consumer Laws: Is Your Dealership At Risk?

The privacy of personal information is a great concern for American consumers in today’s computer age. In a rush to seem up to date on the latest technological safeguards, however, many car dealerships are making false promises and violating consumer laws.

Nearly every car dealership’s privacy policy agreement includes a line about “physical and electronic safeguards” put in place to protect customer information. These privacy policies might look good and put a customer’s mind at ease, but most of these dealerships have no idea what they have in place to safeguard customer information, if they even put anything in place at all.

Consumer protection groups and government organizations are starting to crack down on dealership privacy policies. If dealerships claim that they have safeguards but don’t actually have a system in place, they can be charged for deceptive trade practices and forced to pay settlements. Besides the cost of the settlements, dealerships will also lose business. Car shoppers will be less trusting, especially when it comes to sharing their personal information.

What can your dealership do to avoid these problems? We recommend sitting down and reviewing your dealership’s privacy policy. Is it an accurate reflection of what is currently in place? If someone asked you to specifically outline your system’s safeguards, could you and your staff answer the question? If the answer is no, then the first priority is deciding on reasonable safeguards and implementing them as well as updating the privacy policy if necessary.

Special Finance Group wants to give your dealership’s special finance department the tools it needs to succeed and exceed your expectations. To learn more about Special Finance Group’s Complete Special Finance Solution, go to, and connect with Special Finance Group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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CFPB to Oversee Car Dealerships In New Year

It has been 3 years since the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law. Now in 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is taking a more active role in overseeing auto loans and car dealerships.

In a few short years, the CFPB has taken on credit card companies, the big 3 credit bureaus, and predatory lenders. They have informed the public of consumer protection laws and issued rules to protect homeowners from foreclosure. As they turn their focus to the auto industry, though, some people in the industry are jumping to conclusions, imagining regulators breathing down their necks and slapping dealerships with fines every time someone forgets to dot an “i” or cross a “t.”

In response to these concerns, the CFPB has reached out to dealership groups and even sent out a representative Richard Hackett to the National Automobile Dealers Assn. convention in Orlando, Fl. At the convention, Hackett explained that the CFPB expects some human error in dealerships, but their main goal is to spot patterns of non-compliance in dealerships. The CFPB is trying to strike the right balance of alleviating fears while also letting dealerships know that they aren’t going anywhere. Dealerships will need to learn to work with the CFPB and stay current on consumer laws and regulations. As long as they are willing to take those steps, there is no need to worry.

As part of the Complete Special Finance Solution, Special Finance Group works with their associated dealerships to keep the special finance reps current on all new consumer protection laws. Compliance is more important than ever, and having the Complete Special Finance Solution gives your special finance department yet another advantage over the competition.

Want to learn more about how Special Finance Group can work for you? Go to today, and connect with Special Finance Group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

3 Big Steps to a Fully Compliant Dealership

Is your dealership following strict compliance? Many dealerships might think they have nothing to worry about complying with federal and state consumer protection laws, but with the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, full compliance is more important than ever.

There are three steps that you can take to review your dealership and catch any potential problems or missteps before they become a bigger problem. First, review your employee training procedures. If this information is not written down and streamlined, take the time to do so now. It will make training easier and clearer in the future, and you will also ensure that nothing important gets missed.

Second, go through your dealership’s written policies and procedures with a fine tooth comb, and ask a compliance lawyer to also take a look over it. Also, be sure to have a copy of the most recent relevant consumer laws on hand. You can find the most recent regulations enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here. If there is anything that could be potentially problematic in any way with your current policies or procedures, make the change now in writing, and keep a new copy of your policies and procedures on file.

Third, review your new policies and procedures with all employees, especially anyone who thinks they already know what they are doing. Ignorance can keep a dealership non-compliant, but complacency is far worse for a dealership.

At Special Finance Group, we are constantly working to maintain full compliance with consumer financial regulations. We see compliance as a job that is never done in every part of our business from our first contact with a customer to handing over the keys to a new or used vehicle. Our hard work has led to hundreds of happy customers who have had a positive experience and driven off with a car.

Special Finance Group’s Complete Special Finance Solution can help your dealership too! Click here to learn more, and connect with Special Finance Group on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

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