Buying a used car can be like rolling the dice. You may get lucky, or you may crap out.
Minnesota’s consumer protection laws can lower the odds that you will get stuck with a lemon, but those laws could be stronger, says Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn (DFL-Eden Prairie).
She sponsors HF1804, which would add two new consumer protections for used car buyers.
The House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee amended the bill Wednesday before laying it over for possible omnibus bill inclusion.
On the avoiding a lemon front, the bill would expand the number of used motor vehicles required to be sold with a written warranty.
Used motor vehicle dealers must now provide a written warranty lasting for 2,500 miles or 60 days, whichever comes first, for vehicles with fewer than 36,000 miles. For vehicles having between 36,000 miles and 75,000 miles, the warranty must be for 1,000 miles or 30 days, whichever comes first.
There are no warranty requirements for used motor vehicles having more than 75,000 miles, but the bill would require those vehicles to come with a warranty lasting at least 500 miles or 15 days, whichever comes first.
Todd Murray is a private practice attorney who specializes in representing people who bought used vehicles that turned out to be lemons. He’s met nearly 1,000 people he has not been able to help due to the shortcomings in state law.
“I think this bill will go a long ways to closing a loophole in the law,” he said.
The second consumer protection provision would require motor vehicle dealers to disclose if a vehicle has a remote fuel or ignition “kill switch” installed.
These are often called GPS system starter interrupt devices, Kotyza-Witthuhn said, and car buyers deserve to know about them.
“Oftentimes a buyer is unaware that these kill switches have been installed on their vehicle and you can imagine the driver’s surprise when a car is suddenly disabled by someone in a different location flipping a switch.”