Whether you’re buying or leasing, shopping for a car can be fun and exciting. But wading through ads and promotions offered by car dealers also can be stressful. Some advertise unusually low prices, low or no up-front payments, low- or no-interest loans, or low monthly payments. Others promise high trade-in allowances, free or low-cost options, or rebates. And if you’re looking to lease a vehicle, ads for very low — or no payment — at signing may be especially enticing.
But the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, says beware: Not all dealers play by the rules. Details about special offers and promotions may be buried in the fine print, clicks away from online claims, may not be disclosed at all, or may not be disclosed until you get to the showroom or the finance office. But the law requires that if a dealer advertises discounts, prices, or special low payments, the ads must clearly explain the important details of the offers and how a buyer may qualify for them.