I just read a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Civil Investigative Demand (CID) to a dealer surrounding the use of a bi-weekly payment plan. The purpose of this post is to alert you to a new interrogatory in the CID that I have not seen in previous ones.

The FTC asks the dealer to:

“Summarize consumer complaints received during the applicable time period by complaint type, including but not limited to complaints relating to (Name of bi-weekly payment plan provider)…”

The applicable time frame for this dealer is from July 1, 2011 until the data is provided to the FTC.

This new approach for requesting complaint data by the FTC mimics the same approach the CFPB is reportedly using in its requests. The CFPB also asks that the complaint information report on resolution and documentation of reporting to senior management or owner.

Translated, this means you may have to tell the Feds (unless you are able to successfully squash the CID) about all of the complaints your dealership received in the time frame (in this case since July , 2011) by complaint type.  Although this sounds like a fishing expedition the question becomes – if you were served with a CID for any reason, could you pull this data together to comply with the request?