Tax-refund come-ons could send wrong message

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

It’s that time of year, when there’s a rash of cringe-worthy ads by dealerships touting tax-refund incentives. Typically, customers can use tax refunds as a down payment, cash in their refunds before they get them, or maybe even “double” their refunds.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, assuming the customer can afford a car — tax refund or no tax refund. But you get the impression those come-ons attract people who otherwise don’t have cash.

Sure, it’s up to the buyer to beware. But is that really a good attitude when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is reviewing existing government regulations — and potentially writing new ones — aimed at “abusive” lending practices?

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