Consumers for Auto
Reliability and Safety ®

Where to Complain

Cheated by a shady auto dealer? Scammed over auto financing?
You have lots of company.
Year after year, auto dealers and auto sales rank #1 in consumer complaints to state and local consumer protection agencies and the Better Business Bureau. Usually, the agencies are so overwhelmed by complaints they don't have enough resources or staff to handle them all.

The good news -- consumers now have two new cops on the beat in Washington, DC who actually want to hear from you about your car-buying problems. Thanks to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform law, the Federal Trade Commission and newly established Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have new authority to act, to protect consumers. Before, the FTC was preoccupied with home mortgage issues, identity theft, telemarketing abuses, and other types of scams. Now -- for the first time in decades -- it is making auto sales issues a priority.

If you were ripped off by an auto dealer, it's very important to complain to the FTC. The Federal Trade Commission has jurisdiction over auto dealers, and can now issue rules to curb unfair and deceptive acts committed by auto dealers. If the FTC gets enough complaints from consumers, it may also take enforcement action, and target individual dealers who have a history of engaging in bad practices. Eventually, that may result in victims receiving restitution or other relief. The agency may also issue a new rule to prohibit the shady practices.

The more consumer complaints the FTC gets, the better. Consumer complaints are a HUGELY important factor in whether the agency decides to act.

Where to complain:

If you were scammed by a dealer who sells only used cars, at a smaller independent car lot, then it's a good idea to also tell your story to the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB has jurisdiction over so called "Buy-Here-Pay-Here" car lots, and they are eager to act. Like the FTC, they need to hear from consumers to be able to justify moving forward.

Where to complain to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Note: It may take months for either agency to act. So keep in mind that complaining to them is important, but not a substitute for getting legal advice and taking your own legal action. To find an attorney who is expert in winning against unscrupulous dealers or manufacturers, check out the "find an attorney" section at the National Association of Consumer Advocates, at

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Our Mission
The CARS Foundation is a non-profit,
tax-exempt organization founded in 1979
that prevents motor vehicle-related fatalities,
injuries, and economic losses through
education, outreach, aid to victims,
and related activities.


Avoid Deadly Safety Defects
ALWAYS check for safety recalls before you buy.

Regularly updated safety recall data is free,
at the website for the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

If the recall repair hasn't been done,
don't buy that car!!
CarMax advertises its vehicles passed
a 125-point inspection.

But FAILS to fix deadly safety recall defects.

Help save precious lives.

Spread the word:

Take Action
Over 117,000 people have signed
CARS' petition on
calling on CarMax to stop
selling hazardous recalled cars
with deadly safety defects.
But they keep endangering precious
lives. This has to stop!

Sign CARS' petition:
Tell CarMax to stop selling unsafe,
recalled cars to consumers!

CarMax sells cars with
deadly safety recall defects.
ABC's 20/20 went undercover and caught
CarMax up to their sneaky tricks.
More than 730,000 viewers have watched this video clip on CARS' YouTube channel
Help save lives -- share the link!

Shopping for a safe, reliable used car?
Buying used cars from car dealers is extremely risky. A bad car deal can ruin your life, or even kill you and your family. So why even go there?

Here are 12 easy tips from pro-consumer experts for how to avoid a lot of hassles, save a ton of money, and get a safe, reliable used car. All without having to give your hard-earned cash to a greedy car dealer.

Did a dealer sell you an unsafe, recalled car?
We want to hear your story.
Contact The CARS Foundation

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