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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

California Gets New Used Car Lemon Law

Buyers in the market for a used vehicle in the state of California will now be the first in the country to get strong protection for used car purchases. According to the new law, a vehicle whether new or used, must be checked against a federal government database and marked with a red warning sticker in the event any defect or other serious safety issues were found. The bill, introduced by the Democratic State Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, was signed into law by Governor Jerry brown Monday September 26, was backed by consumer advocates, law enforcement officials and used car dealers as well. Proponents of the new law, including Rosemary Shahan, President of CARS (Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety) insist that it will protect consumers by ensuring that a vehicle with a history of defects and safety issues will not end up in the hands of another driver with no advance notice of its prior issues, which in some instances, may be serious. Among the supporters of the bill are the California New Car Dealers Association and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association, which represents used-car dealers. The government's website for checking a vehicle's history is www.VehicleHistory.gov and it is available to the public for a small fee. Part of the law will permit dealers to charge consumers additional fees for documents. Up until now, new-car dealers were not allowed to charge more than $55 and the cap has been raised to $80. For used-car dealers, the old cap of $45 has also been increased to $80. However, those numbers are the top, the actual dollar amount of the fee will still be negotiated between the dealer and the buyer at purchase. As far as legislation in other states to mandate the use of the new government vehicle database/pre-check, the National automobile Dealer Association hasn't made any efforts to address this nation wide though a spokesman said the group supports any effort that would provide consumers with more information before making a used or new vehicle purchase.

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