The Competitive Enterprise Institute has filed an FTC complaint against General Motors for its claim that it has paid off its bailout loan “in full, with interest, five years ahead of schedule.“ The complaint is here.
Although one suspects that this is intended at least in part as a publicity stunt, the complaint actually seems to me to state a credible claim. In particular, it does appear to raise a serious claim about whether the statement itself is misleading. And, given the political context around the auto bailouts (and the apparent way in which Ford has benefited from not being bailed out), it could be material to consumer purchasing decisions. Although the claim does technically fit within the contours of the FTC Act, it does seem unlikely that the FTC will grant the claim. It is actually a well-crafted FTC complaint.
On the other hand, CEI’s claim is several steps up from the claim filed when I was at the FTC by MoveOn.org challenging Fox News “Fair and Balanced” slogan as a violation of the FTC Act (seriously).
(Disclosure: I’m a member of the program advisory board of CEI but I didn’t have anything to do with conceiving, writing, or filing this complaint).