A federal watchdog says that truck advertising that says its vehicles can drive themselves has been deceptive because of the “absence of human interaction” and “inability to differentiate between the vehicle and the user.”
The Federal Trade Commission’s consumer-protection division announced Monday that it’s suing a Florida trucking company, Ford Motor Company, for misleading consumers about how its vehicles operate.
The FTC alleges that the company used deceptive advertising to sell its trucks, saying it’s possible to drive a Ford F-150 pickup without touching a steering wheel, or to drive without hands, or even to drive with hands on the wheel, but not the pedals.
Ford says it didn’t mislead consumers, saying the ads don’t appear in print.
The FTC also said Ford “did not attempt to provide consumers with information about how the F-350 pickup and other Ford vehicles operate or the capabilities of their vehicles.”
It’s the second time in less than a year that the FTC has sued Ford.
Last week, it fined the company $500,000 for misleading customers in the form of misleading advertising.
In the complaint, the FTC said Ford’s advertising appeared in print and on television, but that “many viewers were unable to distinguish the advertisements from other advertisements, including on other networks, which were similar in terms of content, tone and style.”
The complaint charges that Ford “is responsible for failing to inform consumers of its vehicles’ capabilities, including their ability to operate without human interaction.”
The FTC also charged that Ford used deceptive language in its advertising that claimed the trucks are “the most powerful vehicle in the world,” and that they can do anything you want with a single push of a button.
In its lawsuit, Ford said that the trucks can be used to transport hazardous materials and other materials, and that “the trucks are not intended to be used for commercial purposes.”
The agency said it’s looking at how Ford’s ads are being used, and said it may take further action.