FTC Addresses Vehicle Model Year Discrepancy

To date, the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) has received a total of sixty-two (62) complaints from consumers who allege that they purchased vehicles described as one or another model year and later discovered that they are earlier models. Currently, there are nineteen (19) open files. In one complaint reaching the Commission, a consumer purchased a vehicle represented to be a 1994 model. On seeking to purchase parts for the vehicle, the consumer was informed that the vehicle was a 1993 model. These allegations have been made against the dealers of both new and used vehicles.

Section 37 of the Fair Competition Act prohibits persons from making false or misleading representations during the course of trade. Where it has been proven that the dealer misrepresented the year of manufacture of the vehicle, the FTC has proceeded against the dealer for a breach of the Act.

The FTC is advising consumers that at present there are no legislated standards guiding the determination of the model year of a vehicle being imported into Jamaica. In the absence of such standards, it is difficult to pursue the relevant complaints. Where there is clear and cogent evidence supporting an allegation of misrepresentation, the FTC has in the past pursued the matters; and will continue to pursue such matters. In the meantime, the Commission awaits the establishment of appropriate standards, by the Bureau of Standards.