Honesty's a good policy

Federal agencies are cracking down on deceptive advertising, including dealership mailings that seem to be vehicle recall notices but are meant to get sales or service appointments.

Combined with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's drive against dealer reserve and actions by other law-enforcement agencies and consumer advocates, this crackdown shows that dealers are clearly under the gun.

That isn't surprising. Auto retailing is too large a business not to attract watchdog attention.

The industry has come a long way on eliminating lax standards, but it must remain vigilant. Honest dealers shouldn't have to tolerate illegal or deceptive ads from other operators.

Dealers may complain about overzealous regulators that lack auto industry experience, but federal regulators are out to clean up abuses. So dealers may be wise to concentrate on eliminating the practices that tempt enforcement efforts.