CFC Opposes SB 990 (Vargas) – Used Car Safety – DEFEATED

Bill Update:SB 990 (Vargas) defeated in the Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing on April 10th by a vote of 2 to 2, with 5 no votes (bill needed 5 votes to win).

CFC Position: Oppose

The Consumer Federation of California opposes Senate Bill 990 (Vargas). This bill would allow the use of reports from commercial data providers instead of from the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), to satisfy current consumer protection laws regarding the sale of used cars.

Last year’s Assembly Bill 1215 (Blumenfield) prohibits the sale of used cars unless the dealer first obtains a vehicle history report from the NMVTIS. The bill had wide support from consumer groups; auto dealers and their trade associations, which represent both new and used car dealers; international law enforcement officials; non-profits that represent law enforcement officials from the United States, Canada, and Mexico; as well as the former head of the FBI’s Auto Theft Task Force.

Although SB 990 purportedly gives consumers greater choice and protection by expanding on this new law, in fact it undermines AB 1215. The bill’s language allows the use of any commercial database, with no given standards for reputability or accuracy of data, and no repercussions for providing false or inaccurate information.

Under this bill, commercial entities that offer false ‘guarantees’ will be competing with the federal database that was established by the U.S. Department of Justice and operated by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Because private data providers are not subject to regulation like the NMVTIS is, this bill opens the door for inaccurate information to be provided to consumers with impunity. SB 990 will be categorically unsafe for consumers.