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Moriarty, Jimenez, Pintor Marin & Wimberly Pro-Consumer Bill to Inform Used Car Buyers of Auto Recalls Passes Assembly

(TRENTON) – Pro-consumer legislation Assembly Democrats Paul Moriarty, Angelica Jimenez, Eliana Pintor Marin and Benjie Wimberly sponsored that would require auto dealers to provide information to a potential buyer regarding a used motor vehicle with an outstanding recall was voted out of the Assembly on Monday.

“Buyers should be informed of motor vehicle recalls before a purchase is made,” said Moriarty (D-Camden/Gloucester), chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee. “Recalled vehicles sold unwittingly to consumers pose a safety risk. Whether the vehicle has been recalled is critical information for families to know before buying.”

Under the bill (A-579), it would be an unlawful practice under the Consumer Fraud Act for an auto dealer to sell a used vehicle without first contacting, or accessing information provided by, the vehicle manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to determine if there are any recalls specific to a particular vehicle, not just the vehicle’s make and model, which have not been corrected or addressed. In the event that a recall is discovered, the dealer would provide the recall information to the prospective purchaser prior to finalizing the sale of the vehicle.
The sponsors noted that the legislation would allow consumers to make informed decisions. Having information regarding recalls would enable a potential buyer to request repairs prior to making a purchase, negotiate for a better sale price on the vehicle or decide against purchasing the vehicle altogether, they said.

“In the 50 years since the federal government started issuing recalls, the public has been notified of defects in more than half a billion vehicles and vehicle parts, and people are safer for it,” said Jimenez (D-Bergen/Hudson). “This bill advances the intent of the recall process by ensuring that potential new owners of a used car are aware of any safety concerns.”

“Consumers have a right to all background information about their vehicles, particularly when that information can help them protect themselves and their families,” said Pintor Marin (D-Essex). “This measure will promote transparency at used car dealerships and help put buyers at ease.”

“The family car is what gets the kids to school, to sports practices, to play dates, so this goes beyond the basic principle of making sure the consumer gets a fair deal,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Consumers have a right to know if there’s a problem with the car they want to buy so that they can do everything possible to keep their families safe.”

The bill applies only to retail sales, excluding wholesale sales, sales between dealers and sales to owners or operators of motor vehicle junk businesses or motor vehicle junk yards, or any other persons or entities engaged in the business of dismantling, destroying or recycling motor vehicles.

The measure was advanced out of the Assembly on Monday 75-0-0.