Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0960-01-.12 - ADVERTISING OF MOTOR VEHICLES

Current through March 20, 2022

(1) General Principles.
(a) All advertising in any form of media including any oral, written, graphic or pictorial statement made in the course of soliciting business, including without limitation, a statement or representation contained in a notice, sign, poster, display, circular, pamphlet, or letter, on radio, the Internet, via an on-line computer service, or on television, must conform to all applicable provisions of this chapter in addition to any other applicable Tennessee state or federal laws and regulations.
(b) False, misleading or deceptive advertising of motor vehicles or recreational vehicles is prohibited.
(c) Any disclosures of material facts in the advertising of motor vehicles or recreational vehicles must be made in a clear and conspicuous manner.
(2) Advertising of New Motor Vehicles or Recreational Vehicles.
(a) If a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle advertisement pertains to a specific new vehicle, the advertisement must indicate the stock number of that vehicle.
(b) If a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle advertisement pertains to a new vehicle which is not then in stock, the advertisement must disclose that the vehicle is to be ordered from a manufacturer, distributor, wholesaler or other identified source.
(c) A group of similar motor vehicles or recreational vehicles may be advertised by one stock number, as long as the advertised price of each vehicle of that group is the same.
(3) Advertising of Used Motor Vehicles or Recreational Vehicles.
(a) If an advertised motor vehicle or recreational vehicle is required by T.C.A. Title 55, Chapter 3 to be titled as a used motor vehicle or recreational vehicle, the advertisement shall disclose that the motor vehicle or recreational vehicle is "used", or "pretitled", or "previously owned", or words of similar import or intent.
(b) If a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle advertisement pertains to either a specific used vehicle or group of used vehicles, the advertisement must indicate the stock number of at least one of the vehicles.
(4) Price Advertising.
(a) If the price of a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle is advertised, the advertisement:
1. Shall include in the advertised price all costs and charges and any additional fees payable by the purchaser of the vehicle advertised.
2. Shall separately describe any additional fee includable under (a)(1) of this paragraph, and state clearly and conspicuously the amount thereof.
3. Shall state the following are not included in the advertised price:
(i) The cost of optional equipment selected by the purchaser; and
(ii) State and local taxes, tags, registration and title fees.
4. Shall not state an advertised price which includes any trade-in allowance, down payment, capitalized cost reduction or any funds which the consumer is expected to pay in order to reduce the cost of the vehicle to the advertised price, other than rebates from the manufacturer or distributor to all consumers. However, the use of a down payment or a capitalized cost reduction as a term of credit is acceptable. If the rebate from manufacturers or distributors to all customers is utilized in order to reduce the price, then that fact must be disclosed in the advertisement.
5. If on a new motor vehicle or recreational vehicle, shall not state that the advertised price has been discounted unless the price is discounted from the manufacturer's suggested retail price (M.S.R.P.).
(b) When the "suggested retail price" of a new motor vehicle or recreational vehicle is advertised by a manufacturer, distributor, factory representative, or distributor representative, that price must include all charges (other than those for optional equipment); except, however, that destination charges and sales taxes must be specifically excluded.
(c) No motor vehicle or recreational vehicle advertisement may indicate the price of a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle in terms of the "invoice," "factory invoice," or "dealer invoice" unless:
1. The invoiced price is the actual price of the manufacturer or distributor to the dealer; and
2. The advertisement discloses any other material factors that may affect the ultimate cost to the dealer, such as manufacturer incentives and awards and dealer hold back.
(d) Unsubstantiated selling claims and misleading statements or inferences including the use of superlatives are strictly prohibited. Examples include: "write your own deal," "name your own price," "we are number 1 in car sales," "lowest price in the south."
(e) If the price and/or terms of sale or lease of a specific motor vehicle or recreational vehicle, or group of motor vehicles or recreational vehicles is advertised, the motor vehicle or recreational vehicle(s) shall be presented and sold at the advertised price and/or terms. Unless the advertisement states that the advertised price and/or terms are effective for only a specific time period or expire at a specific time, the period of time the price and/or terms remain effective is five (5) days following the last date said advertisement is published in any advertising medium.
(5) Reduced interest rates. No reduced interest rate on motor vehicle or recreational vehicle financing may be advertised if the cost thereof should be directly or indirectly borne by the buyer unless the advertisement discloses that such rate will affect the negotiated price of the vehicle to the buyer.
(6) Trade-in allowance. No motor vehicle or recreational vehicle advertisement may include a "guarantee" or "minimum" trade-in allowance unless the advertisement also states the price of the vehicle in accordance with paragraph (4) of this rule.
(7) Identification. All advertising in all forms of media, including computer generated advertising, initiated from this state shall identify the motor vehicle or recreational vehicle dealer by name and/or dealer license number.
(8) Credit Sales Advertising and Federal Regulation Z as issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. An advertisement which complies with the Federal Truth in Lending Act ( 15 U.S.C. § 160 et seq.) and amendments thereto, and any regulations issued or which may be issued thereunder, shall be deemed in compliance with the provisions of this section. Any advertisement not in compliance with these Federal provisions constitutes violation(s) of this rule.
(9) Lease Advertising and Federal Regulation M as issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. An advertisement which complies with the Consumer Leasing Act of 1976 ( 15 U.S.C. § 1601 et seq.) and amendments thereto, and any regulations issued or which may be issued thereunder, shall be deemed in compliance with the provisions of this section. Any advertisement not in compliance with these Federal provisions constitutes violation(s) of this rule.
(10) Free offers. "Free," "at no cost" or other words to that effect shall not be used unless the "free" item, merchandise, or service is available without a purchase. The provision shall not apply to advertising placed by manufacturers, distributors, or line-make marketing groups. An advertisement which complies with the Federal Trade Commission guidelines at 16 CFR 251.1 and the Consumer Protection Act of 1977, Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 47-18-120, concerning free offers in connection with negotiated sales shall be deemed in compliance with the provisions of this section. Any advertisement not in compliance with these provisions constitutes violation(s) of this rule.
(11) Advertising Repossessed Vehicles or Special Loans on Vehicles. Advertising of "repossessed" vehicles, or any inference made to that effect, will be construed to be misleading or deceptive unless such vehicle has been repossessed from an immediate former owner. Additionally, a dealer shall not advertise in any manner as to infer that a purchaser will be receiving benefits of any existing loan on a vehicle when no such benefit or loan exists.

Notes

Tenn. Comp. R. & Regs. 0960-01-.12
Original rule filed August 16, 1988; effective September 30, 1988. Amendment filed January 18, 1991; effective March 4, 1991. Amendment filed November 15, 2000; effective January 30, 2001. Amendments filed September 21, 2016; effective 12/20/2016.

Authority: T.C.A. §§ 55-17-107(1) and 55-17-402.

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