With leadership changes in the White House and at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some dealers may have assumed that auto retail and finance regulation would scale back. It hasn't, lawyers and compliance experts warn.
In fact, some experts say the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general have stepped up regulatory activity focusing on auto retail in the past two years, and dealers should stress adhering to compliance standards.
State-led consumer protection efforts were reinvigorated in late 2017 with the appointment of longtime CFPB critic Mick Mulvaney as the bureau's acting director. In response, 17 attorneys general wrote a letter to President Donald Trump supporting the bureau's mission and criticizing Mulvaney's appointment.
"If incoming CFPB leadership prevents the agency's professional staff from aggressively pursuing consumer abuse and financial misconduct, we will redouble our efforts at the state level to root out such misconduct and hold those responsible to account," the attorneys general wrote.
Since then, several state attorneys general have developed consumer protection divisions. Former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was active in regulating auto retailing, and this year attorneys general in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and other states have taken actions against dealers, accusing them of unfair and deceptive business practices.