September 8, 2009

Groups keep an eye on clunker rebates

U.S. car industry watchdog Edmunds.com said it is counting car buyers who may have gotten burned by the federal cash for clunkers program.

The issue is that the regulations that were written were incredibly cumbersome, Edmunds.com Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Anwyl told USA Today.

There are cases where people unequivocally lived up to the law, but they are having a hard time living up to the regulations, Anwyl said.

Anwyl said his firm planned to collect data on the rebate scheme and present it to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. At issue are car buyers who may have been promised a rebate, but now find their paper work was not in order.

Lena Pons at consumer group Public Citizen said, many people would not have gone through that process if they knew they were going to be on the hook for additional money.

Pons warned of the risk of fraud, such as dealerships asking car buyers to pay for rebates after the government had already paid for it.

The recently concluded program offered car buyers up to $4,500 in federal rebates if the transaction included a swap for a vehicle with improved gas mileage.