Groups oppose bill to require car dealerships to notify buyers about recalls

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EDISON -

A network of consumer advocacy organizations is lining up to oppose a controversial consumer bill that was first exposed in a Kane In Your Corner investigation in June.

The bill, proposed by Sen. James Beach (D – Cherry Hill) and Assemblyman Lou Greenwald (D – Mount Holly), would require car dealers to notify prospective buyers of open recalls. Sponsors argue that since there is currently no regulation, the bill is a step in the right direction. 

RELATED: Consumer Alert: Government’s handling of car recalls

But consumer advocates say the bill would hurt consumers, since it would limit their ability to sue car dealers under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act over any issue, even ones that are unrelated to recalls. It would also shield a car dealer from recall-related liability as long as disclosure was made. The consumer groups contend lawmakers should simply prohibit the sale of used cars with open recalls, as is already the case for new cars and rental cars.

“Disclosure is not enough, we have to have repair,” says Bob Russo, president of the Consumers League of New Jersey. “We cannot have dealers selling cars that are just disclosed as dangerous or having defects or having recalls or being lemons. We have to have a repair.”

Jason Levine of the Center for Auto Safety adds, “You shouldn't be able to sell a car with a recall on it, whether it's a used car, a new car or a rental car. Period. End of story.”

Other groups opposing the bill include the Consumer Federation of America, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, Consumer Action, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, The Safety Institute,  New Jersey Citizen Action and the New Jersey Chapter of the NAACP.

The bill has passed the state Senate and was assigned to an Assembly committee. New Jersey lawmakers are expected to take up debate on the legislation when they return to session this fall.

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