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Consumer privacy laws important for auto dealers

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The auto dealership business is subject to many regulations under Florida and federal law. Keeping in compliance with these laws and regulations is essential to running a healthy business.

One of the most important consumer protection laws affecting auto financing is the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. A wide-ranging law for curbing perceived abuses within the financial services industry, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act comes up often in auto dealerships because of its rules about privacy.

To comply with the law, auto dealers must inform their customers about the information they are collecting about them, and how the information will be shared, and give consumers the ability to opt out of sharing their information when possible. This typically comes up when buyers are talking to the dealership about their financing options for purchasing a new car or truck, but it can come up frequently in the course of business, whenever dealing with customer information.

Violating the Gramm-Leach-Bliley privacy protections can lead to serious penalties. For instance, in an historic settlement this past summer, the consumer credit monitoring service Equifax agreed to pay $575 million to consumers and others related to its failure to protect consumer information. In 2017, federal investigators said, Equifax failed to adequately patch software that was vulnerable to hackers. The result: the personal information of millions of consumers was stolen. Among the information were Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, dates of birth and other sensitive bits of data that could be used in identity theft and other crimes.

Auto dealers can work with experienced lawyers to make sure their businesses are in compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley privacy protections and other federal and state laws and regulations.