Thread: California Gets a New Lemon Law
10-01-2011, 07:02 AM #1
California Gets a New Lemon Law
From the NY Times:
A new California law, the first of its kind in the nation, is requiring new- and used-car dealers to check their used vehicles against a federal government database and mark them with a red warning sticker if they find a serious problem.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law on Monday, at the urging of consumer advocates, law enforcement officials and used-car dealers themselves.
“This is huge,” Rosemary Shahan, the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a Sacramento-based nonprofit that lobbied for the law, said in a telephone interview. Ms. Shahan said the law would save consumers money and make them safer by warning them of vehicles that may have histories of severe damage.
The bill had the support of the California New Car Dealers Association as well. In a letter encouraging Mr. Brown to sign the bill, the association said the such a law would “help consumers better evaluate whether the vehicle offered for sale has a hidden past.” Officials from the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, which represents used-car dealers, also of the bill during a hearing in July.
The bill, AB 1215 (PDF), was introduced by the Democratic State Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, who represented the San Fernando Valley. At its core is a requirement, effective next July, that requires dealers to begin running a used vehicle’s identification number through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. That system, established by Congress in 2008, operates through the Justice Department.
That system was designed to be more comprehensive than existing commercial services because federal law required all states as well as insurance companies, salvage yards and junkyards to provide information promptly on vehicles written off after sustaining flood, fire or crash damage. The system is open to the public for a small fee, and is also used by state motor vehicle departments and police.
Commercial systems like Carfax or Experian cannot compel insurance companies or salvage yards to provide information; they typically receive information from state motor vehicle departments and police.
During a hearing in July, an official from Carfax, saying that it was wrong for the state to mandate one information supplier and that the federal check system was far from perfect — a charge that also has been levied against Carfax.
A portion of the law allows dealers to charge consumers more for document fees. Previously, new-car dealers were not allowed to charge more than $55. That cap is now $80. For used-car dealers, the old cap of $45 is now as much as $80. However, those are the ceilings; the amount of the fee is still negotiated between the dealer and the buyer.
It is unclear whether similar legislation would be adopted by other states. Jim Moors, a spokesman for the National Automobile Dealers Association, said in a telephone interview that the association had no position on the California law, although it was in favor of consumers getting as much information as possible before buying a vehicle.
In an e-mail, Mr. Blumenfield, who introduced the bill, said the law would now give Californians “a unique protection.”
“This is a protection that has been sought by consumer advocates for a decade, and at long last we have achieved it for the state that purchases more cars than any other in the country,” he wrote.2010 335i Coupe Le Mans Blue
10-01-2011, 12:50 PM #2
Interesting, saw this a couple days ago.
Sounds like it is going to have a big affect on shadier dealers trying to move cars with a spotty history.
10-02-2011, 06:05 PM #3