Tuesday, April 27, 2010

General Motors and CEO Whitacre Violate FTC "Truth in Advertising Laws" With Debt Repayment Claims

General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre seems to have told a big bold lie in order to deceive consumers and potential future investors in the car maker now owned by the Federal Government as to the financial stability of the company.

In television ads and billboards posted in General Motors show rooms around the country, Whitacre has deceptively given the impression that General Motors has paid back all the money invested in it by taxpayers in full, early and with interest.

The clear implication is that the repayment was made from operational income generated by the successful and profitabl sale of GM autos. Senator Grassley and the TARP Fund Inspector General claim that the repayment wasn't made from operating profits but by shuffling funds from one TARP loan to another.

And the $6 to 8 billion or so paid off in this loan represent barely 10% of the total $60 billion or so of bailout money given to prop up General Motors over the past two years.

What does the Federal Trade Communication, which enforces the "Truth in Advertising" laws have to say about Whitacre's deceptive claim? Here's what the FTC web site has to say:

What makes an advertisement deceptive?

According to the FTC's Deception Policy Statement, an ad is deceptive if it contains a statement - or omits information - that:

(1) Is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances; and
(2) Is "material" - that is, important to a consumer's decision to buy or use the product. I wonder what citizen or company will be the first to file a complaint that Whitacre and General Motors have just engaged in deceptive advertising?

Toyota, which the Federal Government does NOT own, certainly would have reason to claim it has been damaged.

Or perhaps one of the readers of this blog will be the first to file the complaint.

What are the odds that the Federal Trade Commission--which obviously has a conflict of interest because it, like General Motors, is part of the Federal Government bureaucracy--will actually pursue this legitimate complaint against General Motors?

So many opportunities to go after illegal and unethical acts by the Obama Big Government Corporatist Regime. So little time.

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