Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the federal agency seeking an extension on new rules covering advertising and F&I operations at auto dealers. It is the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, not the Small Business Administration.
The Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday refused to extend the public comment period on proposed auto dealer regulations despite requests from the National Automobile Dealers Association and other trade groups for more time.
The 60-day comment window on the potential new rules for dealership advertising and finance-and-insurance offices will end Sept. 12 as planned, the FTC said. FTC Secretary April Tabor noted the public already had an extra 20 days to comment between the time the agency announced plans for the new rules June 23 and their official publication in the Federal Register on July 13.
"This period affords the public a meaningful opportunity to provide the Commission with comments regarding its rulemaking proposal," Tabor wrote in an undated letter announcing the decision. "Upon consideration of these facts and the requests, the Commission declines to extend the period for public comment."
The FTC voted unanimously against an extension. The 5-0 vote included Commissioner Christine Wilson, who had cast the lone vote against proposing the regulations in the first place.
"The FTC's refusal to grant a routine extension of a public comment period, particularly for a proposed rule of such sweeping magnitude that involved no advanced notice, further displays an unnecessary and misguided rush to judgment in this matter," NADA CEO Mike Stanton said in a statement Tuesday. "This proposed rule would cause great harm to consumers by significantly extending transaction times, making the customer experience much more complex and inefficient, and increasing prices, and NADA again urges the FTC to go back to the drawing board before forcing a series of unstudied and untested mandates lacking evidence that will have such significant negative impacts on customers."
NADA was joined by the American International Automobile Dealers Association, National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and National Independent Automobile Dealers Association in requesting extensions.
NADA regulatory affairs Senior Vice President Paul Metrey had in a July 18 letter cited the industry's lack of advance notice or time to prepare for the rule in calling for a minimum 120-day extension. He also noted that NADA had sought feedback from the public on 49 questions and requested information on the rules' costs, benefits and economic impact.
"Any attempt to provide the Commission with meaningful data, information, and perspective on these massive inquiries will require considerably longer than the 60-day comment period," Metrey wrote.
Other players in the F&I industry also had sought extensions, including the American Financial Services Association, Service Contract Industry Council, Guaranteed Asset Protection Alliance, Motor Vehicle Protection Products Association and American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
The U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy also called for more time. The federal office housed within the SBA is an independent agency charged with putting the views of small businesses before agencies and Congress.
Tabor acknowledged the FTC had received requests for more time but also noted the agency had received requests opposing a longer comments period.
"Those who oppose an extension state that the current time period provides ample time to comment and that there is an urgent need to address ongoing consumer harm in this area," she wrote.