Details Of New State Law On Used Cars Debated

Gov. Jerry Brown Has Until Oct. 9 To Sign Bill

Gov. Jerry Brown has a bill on his desk that would give recession-weary car dealers extra cash, offer protection for car buyers and save the state millions of dollars.

However, the 10News I-Team learned one group has a problem with it.

The new law would change the way cars are sold in California. Registration will be computerized and would save the state $9 million a year.

Car dealers would be allowed to increase document fees from $45 and $55 to $80.

Additionally, consumers would be told if the car was previously totaled.

Rosemary Shahan with Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety said, "Before they can offer a used car for sale, they'll have to check the federal database to see if it has a branded title like flood, salvage, non-repairable or lemon law buyback … then they have to put a warning sticker on that car."

However, what's on the sticker is also the sticking point.

The new law has dealerships checking only the federal database to find a car's history, but private companies like AutoCheck and CARFAX don't like that.

"We are all for disclosure. We completely endorse the concept of disclosure. It is just to mandate the means for disclosure, I think, will limit consumers and dealers ultimately," Faisal Hasan, CARFAX's national director of governmental relations, told a state Senate committee.

Hasan said it all comes down to choice. He said dealerships and consumers should be allowed to choose the best vehicle history report, and they should be able to choose between the federal database and private listings.

"Our whole point here is disclose, absolutely. They want to use NMVTIS, AutoCheck is up here. They want to use AutoCheck, they want to use CARFAX, that's fine; just disclose … but have a choice in that disclosure," said Hasan.

"CARFAX and AutoCheck and some others are very good products. I do not want to disparage them anyway, because if I am buying a new car I am going to get those products, because they give you additional information," said Los Angeles Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield.

Blumenfield wrote the bill and said the federal database isn't the final fix, but it is important.

"This is good information that would be disclosed and it is the only information that is federally required," Blumenfield.

There is no word on what Brown plans to do. He has until October 9 to sign the bill.

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