FTC's new privacy notice is a safe bet

Donna Harris covers automotive retailing for Automotive News
Dealers have until Jan. 1 to adopt the Federal Trade Commission's new privacy notice.

The new notice is an amendment to the FTC's Financial Privacy Rule, which dealers have had to follow since July 2001. This amendment doesn't change the privacy regulation; it provides an optional privacy form that dealers can adopt for their own use.

Paul Metrey, the National Automobile Dealers Association's chief regulatory lawyer, says dealers haven't had trouble complying with privacy notices in the past. But they'll want to consider taking advantage of the language in this new model of the notice.

Here's why: The new notice provides a safe harbor if dealers follow it. If a dealer uses the FTC's model, the agency can't come back and say the dealer failed to meet agency requirements.

NADA has published a guide that provides an overview of the federal privacy rule as well as the steps dealers must take to complete the new privacy notice for their own use. NADA also hosted a webinar on the topic in October with two lawyers from the FTC's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

It's optional, but dealers who haven't already done so should consider adopting the new notice. Safe harbor protection is always a good idea.