Practices and Enforcement
Motor Vehicle Dealer Advertising Practices and Enforcement Regulations
Revised: October 1, 1998
24 VAC 22-30-10 et seq. Motor Vehicle Dealer Advertising Practices and Enforcement Regulations.
§ 46.2-1581 of the Code of Virginia.
Effective Date: October 1, 1998
Motor Vehicle Dealer Advertising Practices and Enforcement Regulations.
24 VAC 22-30-10. Intent.
In the 1989 Acts of the Virginia General Assembly it was found that it is in the
interest of the consuming public and legitimate motor vehicle dealers to ensure that
the advertising of motor vehicles is honest, fair, and clear and that deceptive or
misleading advertising of the retail sales of motor vehicles as described in Motor
Vehicle Dealer Advertising, Article 9
(§ 46.2-1580 et
seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia should be prohibited.
In the 1995 Acts of the Virginia General Assembly it was found that it is in the
interest of the consuming public and legitimate motor vehicle dealers for dealers to be
regulated by a board of their peers, resulting in the formation of the Virginia Motor
Vehicle Dealer Board. Therefore, the following regulations are promulgated by the board to
administer the administrative and civil penalties necessary for enforcement of prohibited
24 VAC 22-30-20. Definitions.
The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following
meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
"Act" means Chapter 15
(§ 46.2-1500 et
seq.) of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia.
"Administrative penalties" means the denial, suspension or revocation of a
license as allowed in § 6.2-1576 of the Act and based on one or more of the grounds
§ 46.2-1575 of the Act.
"Advertiser" means same as licensee.
"Advertisement " means an oral, written, graphic or pictorial statement
made in the course of soliciting business, including, without limitation, a statement or
representation made in a newspaper, magazine, or other publication, or contained in a
notice, sign, poster, display, circular, pamphlet, or letter, or on radio, the Internet,
or via an on-line computer service, or on television. The term does not include an in-person
oral communication by a dealer’s employee with a prospective customer.
"Board" means the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board of this Commonwealth.
"Civil penalty" means the monetary assessment imposed by the board or the
executive director against a licensee not to exceed $1,000 for any single violation
of § 46.2-1581
of the Code of Virginia.
"Disclaimer" means those words or phrases used to provide a clear understanding
or limitation to an advertised statement but not used to contradict or change the meaning
of the statement.
"Disclosure" means a statement in clear terms of the dollar amounts,
time frames, down payments and other terms which may be needed to provide a full
understanding of credit terms, periodic payment, interest rates, time payment plans, etc.
"Executive director" means the Executive Director of the Motor Vehicle Dealer
Board of this Commonwealth.
"Internet" means the international network of computer systems commonly
known as the "internet."
"License" means the document issued to a Virginia motor vehicle dealer and
which permits such dealer to engage in the business of buying and selling new and used
motor vehicles or used motor vehicles only.
"Licensee" means any person, partnership, association, corporation or
entity which is required to be licensed as a motor vehicle dealer in this Commonwealth.
"Line-make marketing group" means an association of motor vehicle dealers
franchised to sell and advertise the same line-make of new motor vehicles.
"New motor vehicle" means a vehicle which meets all of the following
criteria. The new motor vehicle has:
- Had limited use necessary in moving or road testing the vehicle prior to delivery to a customer;
- Been transferred by a manufacturer's or distributor's certificate of origin which is
the document provided by the manufacturer of a new motor vehicle, or its distributor
to its franchised motor vehicle dealer;
- The manufacturer's or distributor's certification that it conforms to all applicable
federal motor vehicle safety and emission standards;
- Not been previously sold by a dealer except for the purpose of resale and when the
exchange is between franchised dealers of the same line-make;
- Not been used as a rental, driver education, or demonstration motor vehicle; and
- Not been used for the personal and business transportation of the manufacturer,
distributor or dealer or any of their employees.
"On-line service" means any information service, system, or access software
provider that enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server, including
specifically a service or system that provides accesses to the internet.
"Repossessed vehicle" means a vehicle which meets all of the following
criteria. It has:
- Been sold, titled, registered, and taken back from a purchaser for nonpayment; and
- Not yet been resold to an ultimate user.
"Sale" means there is a significant reduction from the advertiser's usual
and customary price of a motor vehicle and the offer is for a limited period of time.
"Used motor vehicle" means any vehicle other than a new motor vehicle
as defined in this chapter.
Regulated Advertising Practices
24 VAC 22-30-30. Practices.
For purposes of this chapter, a violation of the following regulated advertising
practices shall be an unfair, deceptive, or misleading act or practice.
- New motor vehicle. A motor vehicle shall not be advertised as new, either by
word or implication, unless it is one which conforms to the definition of a "new motor vehicle" as
defined in 24 VAC 22-30-20.
- Used motor vehicle.
- The fact that a motor vehicle is used should be clearly and
unequivocally expressed by the term "used" or by such other term as is
commonly understood to mean that the vehicle is used. For example,
"special purchase" or "program cars" by itself is not a
satisfactory disclosure; however, such terms as "demonstrator" or "former
leased and/or rental vehicles" used alone clearly express that they meet the
definition of a used vehicle for advertising purposes. When in doubt, the dealer should
provide more information or simply say "used."
- Once a certificate of origin as defined
in § 46.2-1500
has been assigned to a purchaser, the motor vehicle becomes a used vehicle and must be advertised as such.
- Finance charges or interest rates advertisements.
- Advertisements of finance charges or other interest rates "below market"
(or words to that effect) shall not be used unless it is manufacturer or distributor
sponsored or substantiated by a written agreement with the finance source.
- Advertisement of finance charges or other interest rates shall not be used when
there is a cost to buy-down said charge or rate which is passed on, in whole or in part,
to the purchaser.
- Terms, conditions, and disclaimers.
- When terms, conditions or disclaimers are used, they shall always be stated
clearly and conspicuously. An asterisk or other reference symbol may be used to point
to a disclaimer or other information; but, the disclaimer shall not be used as a
means of contradicting or changing the meaning of an advertised statement. In
addition, they must meet the Federal Trade Commission Truth in Lending Act
Requirements 15 USC §§ 1601 et seq., 12 CFR 226 (Regulation Z) or the Federal
Trade Commission Truth in Leasing Act Requirements, as applicable.
- In all printed media, where terms, conditions or disclaimers are used, they
shall be clearly and conspicuously visible and printed in not less than 8-point
type print or printed in 6-point upper case type print. If a processing fee or
freight or destination charges are not included in the advertised price, the
amount of any such processing fee and freight or destination charge must be
clearly and conspicuously disclosed in not less than eight-point boldface type
or not smaller than the largest typeface within the advertisement. If the processing
fee is not included in the advertised price, the amount of the processing fee may be
omitted from any advertisement in which the largest type size is less than eight-point
typeface, so long as the dealer participates in a media-provided listing of processing
fees and the dealer's advertisement includes an asterisk or other such notation to refer
the reader to the listing of the fees. When billboards, portable signs, posters, etc.,
are used, all terms, conditions or disclaimers need to be displayed and phrased in a
manner which is clear and conspicuous.
- In radio advertisements, where terms, conditions or disclaimers are used, they
shall be clearly announced during the advertisement. They must be explained clearly
and at an understandable speed and volume level.
- In television advertisements, where terms, conditions or disclaimers are used,
they shall be clearly and conspicuously displayed or announced, or both, during
the advertisement. They shall be at an understandable speed or understandable volume
level, or both.
- Sale or sales. The expiration date of an advertised "sale" shall be
clearly and conspicuously disclosed. If the sale exceeds 30 days, the advertiser
should be prepared to substantiate that the offering is indeed a valid reduction
and has not become his regular price.
- "List price," "sticker price," "suggested retail price."
These terms and similar terms shall be used only as follows:
- In reference to the manufacturer's or distributor's suggested retail price for new
- The dealer's own usual and customary price for used vehicles.
- "Cost" and "invoice price" terms.
- "At cost," "below cost," "$ off cost" shall not be
used in advertisements because of the difficulty in determining a dealer's actual net
cost at the time of sale.
- "Invoice price," "$ over invoice," may be used, provided that
the invoice referred to is the manufacturer's factory invoice, distributor's invoice,
or a bona fide bill of sale, as applicable, and that it is available for customer
- "Manufacturer's factory invoice" or "distributor's invoice"
means that document supplied by the manufacturer or the distributor listing the
manufacturer's or distributor's charge to the dealer before any deduction for
items such as holdback, group advertising, factory incentives or rebates, or
any governmental charges.
- Price or credit terms of advertised vehicles. When the price or credit terms of a
vehicle are advertised in print, radio, or television, the vehicle should be fully
identified as to year, make, and model. In addition, in all advertisements placed by
individual dealers and not marketing groups, the advertised price or credit terms
shall include all charges which the buyer must pay to the seller including
"freight" or "destination charges." If there are deferred payments on
credit sales where accrued finance charges are ultimately charged to the consumer
for any part of the deferred period, then these charges must be clearly stated.
State and local fees and taxes and buyer-selected options need not be included in
the advertised price. If the buyer will be required to pay to the seller charges which
increase the advertised price, the charges must be disclosed as set-out in subsection
D of this section and priced in the advertisement.
- Matching or bettering competitor's price advertisements. Advertisements which set
out a policy matching or bettering a competitor's price shall not be used unless the terms
of the offer are specific, verifiable, and reasonable. All terms of the offer shall be
included in the disclosure and disclaimer area and may not say such things as "rules
or terms available in showroom" or "available before delivery." Any material
or significant conditions which must be met or the evidence the consumer must present to
take advantage of the offer must be fully disclosed as a part of the advertisement.
- Advertisements of dealer rebates shall not be used. Offers to match down payments or
guarantee minimum trade-in allowances or offers of cash or money back are forms of dealer
- "Free," "at no extra cost" terms. No equipment, accessory,
other merchandise or service shall be described using any term that implies that such
equipment, accessory, other merchandise or service is free if a purchase is
required in order to receive the "free" offer. Examples of prohibited terms
- At no extra cost
- At no extra charge
- At no extra fee
- At no extra price
- At no additional cost
- At no additional charge
- At no additional fee
- At no additional price
- On the house
- "Bait advertising" shall not be used.
- The purpose of this section is to ensure that customers will be informed the
vehicle is in limited quantity or availability. If a specific vehicle is advertised,
the seller shall be in possession of a reasonable supply of said vehicles and they
shall be available at the advertised price. If the advertised vehicle is available only
in limited numbers or only by order, that shall be stated in the advertisement. The
listing of vehicles by stock numbers or vehicle identification numbers is permissible
and is one means of satisfactorily disclosing a limitation of availability, provided a
separate number is used for each vehicle. For new vehicles, if the offer is limited,
you will be able to say such things as "in stock" or "will order"
provided you can order the vehicle just as advertised and delivery can be assured as
soon as the manufacturer or distributor can confirm the order and deliver it to your
dealership. If you cannot get an order confirmation within 30 days, you must refund
all moneys collected from the buyer at his request. If the vehicle is available only
by order then it must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed in the advertisement.
- Advertising a vehicle at a certain price (including "as low as" statements),
but having available for sale only vehicles equipped with dealer added cost "options"
which increase the selling price above the advertised price, may also be considered "bait
- If a lease payment is advertised, the fact that it is a lease arrangement shall be
- The term "repossessed vehicle" shall not be used unless the
full criteria of the definition in 24 VAC 22-30-20 is met. Advertisers offering such
vehicles for sale shall provide proof of repossession upon request.
- "Finance" or "loan." Words such as "finance"
or "loan" shall not be used in a motor vehicle dealer advertiser's firm
name or trade name unless that person is actually engaged in the financing of
- "Special arrangement or relationship" advertisements. Statements
such as "big volume buying power," "manufacturer's outlet," "
factory authorized outlet," and "factory wholesale outlet," shall not be
used. Any term that gives the consumer the impression the dealer has a special arrangement
with the manufacturer or distributor as compared to similarly situated dealers, is
misleading and shall not be used.
- Records retention. Advertisers shall maintain and make available to the Board and the
Board staff, if requested, the original or a clear facsimile copy of all advertisements
in a manner that permits systematic retrieval for a period of 60 days subsequent to
the expiration date of the advertisement.
24 VAC 22-30-40. Administrative and civil penalties.
- Violations of any regulated advertising practice may, in the discretion of the
board or executive director, be addressed by a written warning to the licensee as an
initial step in the enforcement process.
- Any single violation of a regulated advertising practice may also, after an informal
fact finding proceeding as provided in the Administrative Process Act, § 9-6.14:1 et seq.
of the Code of Virginia, result in an assessment of a civil penalty up to $1,000.
- Subsequent, same or similar violations may, after an informal fact finding proceeding
as provided in the Administrative Process Act, § 9-6.14:1 et seq. of the Code of
Virginia, result in an assessment of a civil penalty up to the $1,000 and may also be
grounds for denying, suspending or revoking a license subject to the hearing
requirements pursuant to
§ 46.2-1576 of
the Act, either or both.
24 VAC 22-30-50. Appeals.
The action of the board in suspending, revoking or refusing any license or in imposing
a monetary civil penalty against the licensee shall be subject to judicial review as
§ 46.2-1577 and
§ 46.2-1578 of the Act.
24 VAC 22-30-60. Other enforcement.
This chapter and the provisions of Article 9
et seq.) of Chapter 15 of Title 46.2 of the Code of Virginia shall be in addition to and
not a substitute for the powers and authority granted pursuant to the provisions of the
Virginia Consumer Protection Act (§ 59.1-196 et seq.) or of any other provision of the
Code of Virginia.