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Advertised prices of second-hand cars are now clearer following ACM’s action

21-09-2018

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has established that, for the most part, the advertised prices of second-hand cars now include all mandatory costs. In addition, the information about consumers’ rights regarding warranty has been improved. This has been the result of ACM’s efforts to make the advertised prices of second-hand cars more transparent. Bernadette van Buchem, Director of ACM’s Consumer Department, adds: “Car dealers and online platforms have become more aware of the rules regarding advertised prices. The basic principle is that consumers should be able to buy their desired cars for the prices listed in the advertisements. We have seen a vast improvement in this area.”

What was the problem?

ACM had previously established that, with regard to second-hand cars, there was often a lot of uncertainty about what consumers exactly got for the displayed price. According to the rules, all costs that consumers have to pay must be included in the advertised price. In addition, the information regarding warranty was often incomplete and incorrect.

In this particular case, ACM invited various market participants to join our efforts: the car dealers and their trade association BOVAG, the data suppliers (businesses that offer systems with which car dealers manage their inventories, and create their online ads), as well as the car platforms on which the ads are displayed. ACM has reminded these market participants of their roles when it comes to compliance with the rules. Following ACM’s explanation of the rules in a letter, the businesses have implemented several adjustments. In the follow-up check, ACM has established that:

  • Generally speaking, advertised prices are displayed with unavoidable costs included;
  • In most cases, it is indicated that individual cost elements are optional;
  • The information regarding warranty has improved significantly.

With these improvements, ACM currently sees no reason to take any further action. ACM is calling on car companies, their dealerships, and the platforms to ensure that, in the interest of consumers, the final steps, too, are taken.

Clear prices

ACM wants to make sure that consumers deal with clear prices and conditions, both with new cars and second-hand cars. Clear prices help consumers and businesses. ACM will continue to keep a close watch on the advertised prices of second-hand cars. Consumers have the opportunity to report unclear prices to ACM.