In a Wall Street Journal editorial centered on the rule-making moves by the Biden administration’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Federal Trade Commission to cap or to outright ban so-called junk fees, there’s this tidbit offered in all seriousness by the FTC’s Lina Khan (the WSJ didn’t directly attribute this to her, but she’s the FTC’s Chair, so the tidbit wasn’t offered without her prior permission):
Consumers who select and travel to dealerships based on an advertised offer, only to learn late in the process (if at all) that the advertised offer does not apply, have often spent hours trying to purchase a car[.]
This, of course, is nonsense. Every car maker in the US, from “ordinary” car makers and dealers to luxury car makers and dealers, offer on their Web sites options to “build your car” for every model on offer, and the build options present every option available to the model along with the effect of option’s inclusion or removal on the car’s final price. Consumers who select and travel to dealerships, even if the selection is originally based on an advertised offer, will have already built their going-in preferred model and have their eyes wide-open to counteroffers and to other options offered or no longer available—together with their costs and savings identified during those discussions.
These proposed rules are nothing more than Government attempting to dictate to businesses how they must operate and to us average Americans what we will be permitted to buy. And that’s not just the exampled car-buying, it’s how this government wants to control how we do our banking, our investing, how we and our businesses in general operate in an economy.
Maybe it’s not caveat emptor. Maybe it’s cave imperium that we should operate under.