Legislation - Trenton
CLNJ Opposes A4292 (Greenwald)/ S2740 (Beach)(Allows car dealers to sell unsafe, recalled cars)
If a manufacturer recalls a certain model car because of a safety defect, would you buy it for your child? No, of course not. Can a car dealer sell a car which is subject to a manufacturer’s recall? CLNJ says the dealers should fix recalled cars, not sell them to unsuspecting consumers.
Bill A4292 protects car dealers, allowing them to sell recalled cars to consumers with just a disclosure, not a fix for the mechanical problem. A4292 would also cut attorney fees for consumer attorneys who successfully prove that a car dealer has violated the N.J. Consumer Fraud Act.
Believe it or not, this bad bill has actually been passed by the N.J. Assembly!
Here is the CLNJ position paper:
The Consumers League of New Jersey strongly urges Governor Murphy to veto S 2740 (Beach) and A 4292 (Greenwald), special-interest legislation backed by unscrupulous auto dealers, should those bills (either singly or as companion measures) reach your desk.
As the New Jersey State Bar Association has stated, those measures are “not really consumer protection bill[s]” and “should those measures become law, New Jersey consumers will be afforded less protection and little recourse when confronted with fraudulent business practices.”
Those measures would eviscerate existing protections in New Jersey from unsafe, defective vehicles that are subject to either a safety or emissions recall, and also hamper the ability of individual victims and the Attorney General of our State to assert their rights in court, by capping attorneys fees at an unprecedented 30% of the amount of damages awarded, regarding any type of fraud committed by an auto dealer.
These extreme measures, which are backed by unscrupulous auto dealers who seek to maximize their profits by knowingly and deliberately selling vehicles with dangerous safety or emissions recall defects, would drastically weaken the existing laws in New Jersey that currently protect the public from defective vehicles with known safety or emissions defects by holding auto dealers liable if they engage in false advertising or bait and switch; fail to comply with express and / or implied warranties; engage in unfair and deceptive acts and practices or fraud; fail to comply with the common law duty of care; or act with negligence, resulting in damage, injuries, or wrongful death.
These bills would shift legal liability onto victims of unsafe vehicles, and give auto dealers a new, unprecedented "safe harbor" for knowingly and deliberately selling vehicles with lethal safety defects, if they merely “disclose” that a vehicle has an unrepaired safety or emissions recall. As car dealers themselves have stated publicly, they seek enactment of laws such as this in order to evade legal liability when such sales result in fatalities or injuries.
These measures pose a serious threat to the safety of used car buyers, their families, other passengers, and others who share the roads, including bicyclists and pedestrians, and will result in increased deaths and injuries and illnesses due to motor vehicle safety or emissions defects.
S 2740 / A 4292 are similar to other special-interest measures dealers have sought to get enacted in other states, that were either defeated or amended to remove the harmful provisions, including California, Virginia, and Maryland, and most recently, New York. Because they would make New Jersey’s laws weaker than the laws in other states, they would make New Jersey into a dumping ground for unsafe recalled cars.
As polling conducted by Public Policy Polling in New Jersey found, likely voters overwhelmingly oppose allowing dealers to sell unrepaired recalled cars, with or without "disclosure,” with over 90% opposing such legislation.