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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection; Comment Request; Extension

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCY:

Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”).

ACTION:

Notice.

SUMMARY:

The information collection required described below will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) for review, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (“PRA”). The FTC is seeking public comments on its proposed to extend through September 30, 2007, the current PRA clearance for information collection requirements contained in its Used Motor Vehicle Trade Regulation Rule (“Used Car Rule” or “Rule”). That clearance expires on September 30, 2004.

DATES:

Comments must be submitted on or before September 27, 2004.

ADDRESSES:

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments. Comments should refer to “Used Car Rule: Paperwork comment,” to facilitate the organization of comments. A comment filed in paper form should include this reference both in the text and on the enveloped, and should be mailed or delivered to the following address: Federal Trade Commission/Office of the Secretary, Room H-159 (Annex T), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20580. If the comment contains any material for which confidential treatment is requested, it must be filed in paper form, and the first page of the document must be clearly labeled “Confidential.” [1] The FTC is requesting that any comment filed in paper form be sent by courier or overnight service, if possible, because U.S. postal mail in the Washington area and at the Commission is subject to delay due to heightened security precautions.

The FTC Act and other laws the Commission administers permit the collection of public comments to consider and use in this proceeding as appropriate. All timely and responsive public comments will be considered by the Commission, and will be available to the public on the FTC Web site, to the extent practicable, at www.ftc.gov. As a matter of discretion, the FTC makes every effort to remove home contact information for individuals from the public comments it receives before placing those comments on the FTC Web site. More information, including routine uses permitted by the Privacy Act, may be found in the FTC's privacy policy, at http://www.ftc.gov/​ftc/​privacy.htm.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Requests for additional information or copies of the proposed information requirements should be addressed to John C. Hallerud, Attorney, Midwest Region, Federal Trade Commission, 55 East Monroe, Suite 1860, Chicago, Illinois 60603, (312) 960-5634.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520), Federal agencies must obtain approval from OMB for each collection of information they conduct or sponsor. “Collection of information” means agency requests or requirements that members of the public submit reports, keep records, or provide information to a third party. 44 U.S.C. 3502(3), 5 CFR 1320.3(c). As required by section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the PRA, the FTC is providing this opportunity for public comment before requesting that OMB extend the existing paperwork clearance for the Used Car Rule, 16 CFR part 455 (OMB Control Number 3084-0108).

The FTC invites comments on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

The Used Car Rule facilities informed purchasing decisions by consumers by requiring used car dealers to disclose information about warranty coverage, if any, and the mechanical condition of used cars they offer for sale. The Rule required that used car dealers display a Buyers Guide that, among other things, discloses information about warranty coverage on each used care offered for sale.

Burden statement:

Estimated total annual hours burden: 1,921,000 hours.

The Rule has no recordkeeping requirements. The estimated burden relating solely to disclosure requirements is 1,921,000 hours. As explained in more detail below, this estimate is based on the number of used care dealers (approximately 76,000 [2] ), the number of used cars sold by dealers annually (approximately 30,000,000 [3] ), and the time needed to fulfill the information collection tasks required by the Rule.[4] Staff revises its prior annual Start Printed Page 45060burden estimate of 1,925,000 hours to reflect a decrease in the approximate number of dealers.

The Rule requires that used car dealers display a one-page, double-sided Buyers Guide in the window of each used car they offer for sale. The component tasks associated with this requirement include: (1) Ordering and stocking Buyers Guide forms; (2) entering applicable data on Buyers Guides; (3) posting the Buyers Guides on vehicles; and (4) making any necessary revisions in Buyers Guides.

Dealers should need no more than an average of one hour per year to obtain Buyers Guide forms, which are readily available from many commercial printers or can be produced by an office word-processing or desk-top publishing system.[5] Based on a universe of 76,000 dealers, the annual hours burden for producing or obtaining and stocking Buyers Guides is 76,000 hours.

For used cars sold “as is,” copying vehicle-specific data from dealer inventories to the Buyers Guide forms and checking off the “no warranty” box may take up to two minutes per vehicle if done by hand, and only seconds for those dealers who have automated the process. Staff conservatively assumes that this task, on average, will require 1.5 minutes. For used cars sold under warranty, checking off the warranty box and adding warranty information may take an additional one minute, i.e., 2.5 minutes. Based on input from industry sources, staff estimates that approximately 60% of used cars sold by dealers are sold “as is,” with the remainder sold under warranty. Thus, staff estimates the time required to enter data for used cars sold without warranty is 450,000 hours [(30,000,000 × 60% × 1.5 minutes) ÷ 60 minutes/hour] and 500,000 hours for used cars sold under warrant [(30,000,000 × 40% × 2.5 minutes) ÷ 60 minutes/hour], for an overall total of 950,000 hours.

Although the time required to post the Buyers Guide on each used car may vary substantially, FTC staff estimates that, on average, dealers will spend 1.75 minutes per vehicle to match the correct Buyers Guide to the vehicle and place it on or on the vehicle. For the 30,000,000 vehicles sold the burden associated with this task is 875,000 hours. To the extent dealers are able to integrate this process into other activities performed in their ordinary course of business, this estimate likely overstates the actual burden.

If negotiations between buyer and seller over warranty coverage produce a sale on terms other than those originally entered on the Buyers Guide, the dealer must revise the Guide to reflect the actual terms of sale. According to the rulemaking record, bargaining over warranty coverage rarely occurs. Allowing for revision in 2% of sales, at two minutes per revision, staff estimates that dealers will spend 20,000 hours annually revising Buyers Guides.

Estimated annual cost burden: $29,651,000, consisting of $20,651,000 in labor costs and $9,000,000 in non-labor costs.

Labor costs: Labor costs are derived by applying appropriate hourly cost figures to the burden hours described above. Staff has determined that all of the tasks associated with ordering forms, entering data on Buyers Guides, posting Buyers Guides on vehicles, and revising them as needed are typically done by clerical or low-level administrative personnel. Using a clerical cost rate of $10.75 per hour and an estimate of 1,921,000 burden hours for disclosure requirements, the total labor cost burden would be approximately $20,651,000

Capital or other non-labor costs: The cost of the Buyers Guide form itself is estimated to be 30 cents per form, so that forms for 30 million vehicles would cost dealers $9,000,000. In making this estimate, staff conservatively assumes that all dealers will purchase reprinted forms instead of producing them internally, although dealers may produce them at minimal expense using current office automation technology. Capital and start-up costs associated with the Rule are minimal.

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William E. Kovacic,

General Counsel.

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Footnotes

1.  Commission Rule 4.2(d), 16 CFR 4.2(d). The comment must be accompanied by an explicit request for confidential treatment, including the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. The request will be granted or denied by the Commission's General Counsel, consistent with applicable law and the public interest. See Commission Rule 4.9(c), 16 CFR 4.9(c).

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2.  The Used Car Market Report 2004 (“Manheim Market Report”), p. 45, publishing by Manheim, 6205 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, Georgia 30328, citing NADA and CNW Marketing/Research. The Manheim Market Report estimates the number of dealerships in 2003 as 75,725. Staff has rounded that number to 76,000, slightly lower than the estimate of 80,000 dealers used in the prior Paperwork Reduction Act notice. The Manheim Market Report is available online at: www.manheimnews.com/​UCMR/​reports/​UCMR2004dy7r9901resources/​index.html.

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3.  Manheim Market Report, p. 45. The Manheim Market Report estimates the number of used cars sold by dealers in 2003 as 29,903,000. Staff has rounded that number to 30,000,000, the same estimate used in the prior Paperwork Reduction Act notice.

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4.  A relatively small number of dealers opt to contract with outside companies to perform the various tasks associated with complying with the Rule. Staff assumes that outside contractors would require about the same amount of time and incur similar cost as dealers to perform these tasks. Accordingly, the hour and cost burden totals shown, while referring to “dealers,” incorporate the time and cost borne by outside companies in performing the tasks associated with the Rule.

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5.  The Buyers Guide is also available online from the FTC's Web site, www.ftc.gov, at www.ftc.gov/​bcp/​conline/​edcams/​automobiles/​index.html.

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[FR Doc. 04-17158 Filed 7-27-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 6750-01-M