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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California Senate Judiciary Committee has joined the State Assembly, car dealers and consumers groups in support of a bill – AB 68 – described as being the first in the U.S. that creates a “Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights” and includes protections for consumers during the new and used car buying process. Among the provisions of the bill, it requires a conditional sale contract for a motor vehicle to include a specified notice to inform the used car buyer of a vehicle for less than $40,000 of their right to obtain a contract cancellation option agreement; requires the conditional sale contract to include the amount charged for a theft deterrent device, the amount charged for a surface protection product, and the amount charged for a used vehicle contract cancellation option agreement; prohibits dealers from advertising or selling a vehicle as “certified” or using similar terms to imply that the vehicle meets the terms of a used vehicle certification program, unless the vehicle meets specified criteria. Violations of this provision are actionable under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law, and as false advertising; prohibits a dealer from adding charges to a sale or lease contract without the buyer’s consent or inflating a payment or extending the maturity of a contract for the purpose of disguising the actual charges for goods or services; requires a dealer who has obtained a consumer credit score from a consumer credit reporting agency, to provide that information to the consumer before the sale or lease of the vehicle. The amended bill is expected to move back to the Assembly and on to the Governor’s desk later this month. It would be effective July 1, 2006.

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