Lawmaker proposes 'bill of rights' for car buyersby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A state lawmaker says he wants to give consumers greater protection when they buy used cars from automobile dealers.
Sen.-elect Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, says he's concerned that consumers can't return used cars. Latz says he's heard complaints from people who realized they couldn't afford car payments, but didn't realize it until they had already bought the car.
Latz says right now a consumer owns a car once he or she signs the purchase agreement and there isn't any legal recourse for a dealer to accept the car if a consumer wants to return it. Latz says he's talked to several consumers who bought cars, and later realized they couldn't afford them but couldn't return the car.
"It's the state's role to protect consumers in a lot of ways and at least to make sure that the consumers can make informed decisions about what they're going to purchase, and yes, if they change their mind, that they have the right to return it," Latz says. "If you buy just about anything, you can return things, but a car. Why shouldn't you be able to return that too?"
Latz' proposal gives consumers a two-day return policy for any used cars purchased from a car dealer. He also wants auto dealers to be more upfront about finance charges.
"We're going to perform all of this regulation to take care of a few customers who are unwilling to perform on contracts that they signed with full disclosure of what they're going to get into," countered Scott Lambert of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association. "We're going to regulate every transaction in the state and I think that's likely to add costs."
Latz says he's modeling his plan after a similar law in California.