Our California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members who are Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) investigators are seeing the end results of their investigation into two schemes involving California driver licenses.
Former DMV Senior Motor Vehicle Technician Alfonso Casarez, 51, of Fresno was sentenced this week to five years and one month in prison for his involvement in both conspiracies to sell drivers licenses to people who had not passed the written and behind-the-wheel tests.
“This man put public safety at risk,” said Kenneth Ehrman, DMV investigator and president of the Association of Motor Vehicles Investigators of California (AMVIC). “Not just out on the roadway, this was a major security issue that could have lead to identity theft, financial fraud, even terrorist acts.”
The investigation into the schemes lead to the arrests of 15 people. Casarez’s sister was also convicted in the conspiracy and sentenced to four years in prison. She took money from people who wanted Class C or Class A commercial driver licenses and forwarded money and information to Casarez who then altered records at the DMV to show the ineligible individuals had passed written and behind-the-wheel tests and should be issued a license.
“The work of our DMV investigators goes unnoticed by most Californians,” said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. “They are highly trained peace officers who are called upon by nearly every law enforcement agency in the state. This was a case in which they worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs (ICE) and Homeland Security and 15 dishonest people who put the public at risk were charged with criminal offenses. That’s a job well done.”
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A similar bill proposed in California in 2010 would have allowed advertisements to scroll on the screen if a car was stopped for more than three seconds, Ars reported. The ads were envisioned as an additional revenue source for the DMV. The current bill does not include provisions for advertising, the Sacramento Bee reported.
California is not the only state considering electronic license plates. Florida passed a law last year allowing them, but the program does not yet have a start date. South Carolina and New Jersey have similar bills in progress.
California pilots electronic license plates — will other states follow?
By Kathleen Hickey
Oct 22, 2013
California is piloting electronic license plates to improve efficiency, lower the cost of DMV vehicle registration services and eliminate the need for vehicle owners, particularly fleet owners, to receive physical registration tags by mail, according to a bill analysis by California’s Senate Rules Committee.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee said it will cost less than $50,000 for the DMV to administer the pilot program and complete the evaluation report. However, the plates most likely will come at a cost for drivers, said David Findlay of Compliance Innovations, an electronic license plate manufacturer. Findlay told Time magazine the plates could cost around $100, at least five times the price of a typical license plate fee.
The electronic plates would serve as alternatives to California’s traditional metal license plate, plastic-coated registration stickers and paper registration cards. California’s DMV annually registers approximately 26 million vehicles and performs over 10 million renewals.
Senate Bill 806, signed by California Gov. Jerry Brown in early October, calls for the pilot to be established by Jan. 1, 2017. The pilot will be limited to no more than 0.5 percent of registered vehicles and vehicle owners who have voluntarily chosen to participate.
While the bill does not specifically state which devices will be tested, the bill analysis did mention a provider, Smart Plate Mobile, which was incorporated in 2009 and is based in San Francisco, as being “the company most interested in participating in such a pilot project.” Smart Plate Mobile’s plates are computer screens that would take on the size and appearance of a standard California license plate. Since the plates can receive wireless updates from a central server, they could also display additional messages such as “stolen” or “expired.”
Smart Plate Mobile does not have a website.
Artemio Armenta, a DMV spokesperson, told Ars Technica that “postage costs associated with vehicle licensing and registration does exceed $20 million annually.”
Responding to concerns about tracking expressed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an amendment was added to California’s bill to limit the data exchanged “to that data necessary to display evidence of registration compliance. The department shall not receive or retain any information generated during the pilot program regarding the movement, location or use of a vehicle participating in the pilot program.”
Still, Lee Tien, an attorney at Electronic Frontier Foundation, notes that while the DMV will not be receiving location information in the pilot, the company providing the plates would, and it would control what is on the plates, reported the Capitol Hill Daily.
“We’re surprised and disappointed that this bill seems to be proceeding without any serious exploration of the privacy risks,” Tien said. “Just because it’s a pilot doesn’t excuse the legislature of responsibility.”
Other potential concerns include the potential for the plates to be monitored or hacked by other parties.
Ars noted that the technical details of the program are unclear as well as how long plate information would be retained and who would have access to it.
The DMV will be responsible for sharing the results of the pilot program with the California Legislature no later than July 1, 2018, Government Technology reported. The report will address some of these privacy concerns, including whether the devices have the ability to transmit and retain information regarding vehicle location, movement or use. If the product does have that feature, the report will also include whether there are safeguards against the information falling into unauthorized hands.
Auto Vehicle Fires: Be Prepared in Case of an Emergency
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recently acknowledged that a vehicle fire problem exists in the United States. According to NFPA statistics, more people died from highway vehicle fires than from apartment fires in 2004. Yet, few drivers think of a fire extinguisher as a critical component of their car safety kit. Reports show that on average, a vehicle fire occurs once every two minutes, and most happen during the summer months – June, July and August. A fire extinguisher within reach inside the vehicle can be useful in an emergency or to quickly put out a small, smoldering fire.
VEHICLE FIRE FACTS
More than 266,000 highway vehicle fires occurred in 2004, causing nearly $1 billion in property loss, cites the National Fire Protection Association.
Between 1999-2002, passenger cars accounted for 80 percent of the nearly 270,000 highway vehicle fires.
Mechanical or electrical failures cause more than two-thirds (71 percent) of highway vehicle fires, and 66 percent begin in the engine, running gear or wheel area.
According to consumer affairs Web sites, many automobile owners who experienced mechanical-related vehicle fires initially smelled a strange odor then witnessed smoke filtering from under the hood or wheel area.
Once flames occur in the engine, it takes an average of four minutes for the fire to reach the passenger compartment, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
On average, Americans commute 52 minutes to and from work. That equals nine days a year spent in the car, not counting road trips or vacations. (ABC News Poll)
All commercial vehicles must have at least one UL-rated 5-B:C extinguisher, or a 10- B:C unit if carrying hazardous materials. Passenger cars do not need to carry fire extinguishers, yet automobiles are involved in 12 times as many fires as commercial freight trucks and result in larger numbers of casualties and a larger dollar loss.
VEHICLE FIRE SAFETY TIPS
Make sure that everyone has exited the vehicle.
Notify the fire department before attempting to extinguish the fire.
Use your extinguisher only to keep a small, smoldering, contained fire from growing or to create a safe pathway from the vehicle.
Read the instructions and become familiar with your fire extinguisher’s parts and operation BEFORE a fire breaks out.
Remember the “PASS” system:
• Pull the pin. Hold unit upright.
• Aim at the base of the fire.
• Squeeze lever.
• Sweep from side to side.
Sources: National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) and Department of Transportation (DOT)
We carry a full line of Automotive Forms for New and Used Car Dealerships, whether it’s DMV Forms, Finance Forms, or Business Forms. This includes Buyers Guides, Due Bills, Contracts, Credit Applications, Agreement to Furnish Insurance, Co-Signer Agreement, Acknowledgement, Acuso De Recibo, California Foreign Language Acknowledgement, Convenio De Opcion De Cancelacion De Contracto in ENGLISH OR SPANISH.
Other forms we carry are Addendums, Repair Orders, Bill of Sale, Commission Vouchers, Law Disclosure Poster Signs, File Deal Jackets, Automobile Purchase Drafts, Contract Cancellation Option Agreement, Optional Products and Services Disclosure, Notice to Vehicle Credit Applicant, Used Vehicle Condition At Delivery, Returned Vehicle Report, 4 Square Worksheet, Application For Title or Registration, Miscellaneous Statements of Fact, Application For Employment, Power of Attorney Vehicle/Vessel, Statement of Fact Unwind, Statement of Error or Erasure, Lien Satisfied, Authorization For Pay-Off, Bill of Sale, California Sale Tax Resale Certificate, Notice of Payment Past Due, Vehicle “AS-IS” Agreement – NO WARRANTY, Guarantee of Title, Promissory Note, Borrowed Vehicle Agreement, Application for Duplicate Title, Consignment and Sales Agreement, Motor Vehicle Brokering Agreement, Rental Agreement, and 262 Vehicle/Vessel Transfer And Reassignment Form.
It’s All About Selling Cars! That is the foundation of my business. If a car is not sold, you don’t make money and we don’t make money.
A dealer may not engage in brokering a retail sales transaction without having an autobroker’s endorsement to their dealer’s license.
Upon issuance of an autobroker’s endorsement to a dealer’s license, the department shall furnish the dealer with an autobroker’s log. The autobroker’s log remains the property of the department and may be taken at any time for inspection.
The autobroker’s log must contain the following information with respect to each retail sale brokered by that dealer:
WASHINGTON — It used to be that people in the market for a new car could go to the car-shopping website TrueCar.com, which collects bids from auto dealerships, and get dealers to undercut one another on price. Dealers could see the rival prices, so prices tumbled lower over time almost like a reverse-auction.
Faced with complaints from dealers over the way that worked, TrueCar.com changed its website, the system became less competitive, with dealers no longer seeing rival prices, and now U.S. antitrust enforcers are trying to unravel what happened.
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether car dealers across the United States ganged up against TrueCar, agreeing among themselves not to do business with the California-based internet company because it was driving down prices, said people who have received letters from the FTC including TrueCar chief executive Scott Painter.
TrueCar and dealers are now on good terms, but the FTC is investigating whether potentially higher prices from the company’s changes were the result of fair market pressure or illegal collusion. The probe was disclosed in the auto trade press in September.
The investigation, which appears to be in an early stage, centers on an industry that is also feeling disruptive pressure from direct-to-consumer car-maker Tesla Motors (TSLA) and on a company, TrueCar, that once had ambitions to make dealership staffs obsolete but which has since abandoned that idea.
Founded in 2005, privately held TrueCar provides price data to consumers for free and assists car-buying services like the one available to American Express (AXP) members. It doesn’t sell cars, but it projects that consumers will buy 400,000 vehicles this year with its help, up from 223,000 in 2012.
On Thursday, the company said it was getting a fresh $30 million injection from an investing arm of Microsoft (MSFT) co-founder Paul Allen.
TrueCar is also a frequent source of sales data generally, quoted by news media including Reuters.
“We see all transactions across the U.S., both new and used,” Painter said in an interview. The data allows the company to see, for example, how far people in a particular ZIP Code are willing to travel to buy a car, and what cars have sold for recently.
In earlier media interviews, Painter imagined a future in which customers would get a guaranteed low price online and then pick up a new car from a dealer without needing to talk to sales staff, let alone negotiate with them.
As the company gained momentum in 2011, a feature of its website began to get particular attention among dealers.
They were allowed to see the bids that other dealers offered customers, and some dealers began to undercut prices so much they were willing to lose money on individual sales, hoping to make it back through service and repair work or future sales.
Adding to dealers’ losses, they agreed to pay TrueCar $299 per sale on new cars and $399 per sale on used cars.
Complaints started showing up on online discussion boards. Jim Ziegler, a consultant to dealers who also writes columns about the industry, was the self-described catalyst.
“Are we so bad at what we do that we have to line up and pay vendors to lose money? And, who is giving these people access to your data that is used against you?” Ziegler wrote in a November 2011 column posted on several websites.
He advised dealers to cancel their affiliations with TrueCar. Many did. TrueCar said its network fell from 5,700 dealers at the end of 2011 to 3,100 two months later. Attacks came from other directions, too. These included accusations that TrueCar violated state franchise laws and had too much access to dealer-generated data.
Because dealers are the source of TrueCar’s revenue, it also started to bleed money — losing $9 million in January 2012 alone. “They wanted us to die, go away,” Painter said.
Taken off guard, TrueCar decided to make changes, among them the disabling of the feature that allowed dealers to see what rivals were bidding for potential customers. Dealers now see a customer’s name, phone number, email address and what kind of car they are interested in buying. Customers see prices from area dealers.
Company Defends New System
The company defends its new system, saying it wouldn’t have been able to survive if it hadn’t changed.
“In order for an auction to theoretically work, you have to have willing participants. And we live in a free country, right?” Painter said. “If the outcome of a pure reverse-auction is unsustainably low prices that drive dealers out of business, that doesn’t really work.”
Besides, he said, price is only one factor for car-buyers and is often less important than location and giving them the exact car they want.
TrueCar began to court dealers back, telling them they were the company’s customers as much as consumers were.
“We are not in the business of speculating on the business model of how cars are sold at the dealer level,” Painter told Reuters this month. “That’s up to them. Our job is to help dealers and consumers find each other and have the information to make a good match.”
TrueCar’s network has rebounded to 6,700 dealers, an all-time high, and the company is now a “genuine participant in the automotive ecosystem,” Painter said.
As for what happened to prices after the turnaround, TrueCar does not have data on that, a spokeswoman said. One dealer, though, estimated that prices have risen to the point where he is making 30 percent more profit than he was at the height of TrueCar-induced competition when he saw rivals’ prices and cut his accordingly.
“My prices are higher today than they were at the beginning of TrueCar,” said Earl Stewart, who runs a Toyota dealership near West Palm Beach, Fla. “It’s still a good buy for the consumer, but it’s not as good as it was at the beginning.”
Stewart, a member of TrueCar’s Dealer Council, defends the company as embodying the free market. Other dealers urged him to stop using it in the earlier, more competitive period, he said.
“I had dealers call me and say, ‘Let’s stop this madness. Let’s keep our prices at a reasonable level.’ I said, ‘You can’t talk to me about that. You’re going to go to jail. That’s an antitrust violation,'” Stewart said.
Consumers can shop around as they always could if they want to put in the legwork to show quotes to other dealers.
FTC Begins Probe
It isn’t clear how the episode came to the attention of antitrust enforcers, but in September, dealers received letters from the FTC asking them to preserve documents.
The FTC said it was looking into whether some companies violated antitrust laws “by agreeing to refuse to deal with TrueCar” in 2011 and 2012, according to Automotive News, a trade publication that got a copy of one letter.
Ziegler, the industry columnist, got a letter from the FTC, too. In an interview, he said he would cooperate but that the FTC was ridiculous for starting a probe so long after TrueCar and the dealers had resolved their differences. “If they had done this when it was a hot issue, it would make a lot more sense,” he said.
Even now, he added, the investigation is unwarranted because dealers did not collude. He said they cut ties out of their own self-interest to stay in business.
“I know a lot of dealers canceled them, but it was all individual decisions,” he said.
It was unclear how many dealers have received letters from the FTC. The National Automobile Dealers Association, a trade group, said it received one and is cooperating but does not believe it is a target.
An FTC spokesman declined to comment.
Investigations into concerted action are often straightforward, said Seth Bloom, a former Justice Department antitrust lawyer now in private practice in Washington, D.C. “If they can find an agreement among competitors not to deal with this distribution channel, it’s basically a case right there,” he said.
If the FTC were to find that there was anti-competitive behavior, it could order TrueCar to restore its former business practices or search for other remedies, Bloom said.
Painter expressed ambivalence about the FTC’s investigation. He said TrueCar did not request it, is not a target and is paying fees to two law firms, Alston & Bird and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, to comply with it.
He said he had no opinion on whether the dealers violated laws meant to protect competition.
“If it’s determined that there was a perpetrator and a victim, we’re the victim,” he said, “but I think that we as a company have already survived this issue, so I don’t know what you could do to help the victim.”
With TrueCar having changed, he added, “dealers are back on the program, so we have no interest in picking any fights.”
In the State of California, TrueCar is viewed as an autobroker and vehicles displayed and offered for sale on TrueCar websites are advertisements to the public and must comply with California law.
According California to it appears that many facets of the TrueCar/Zag broker program fail to comply with California law and such non-compliance could expose both TrueCar and participating new motor vehicle dealers to legal liability and/or license action.
In response to a large number of inquiries received from California dealer members, we requested outside legal counsel, Manning Leaver, Bruder & Berberich (who also authors the California Auto Dealer Advertising Law Manual), to research the occupational license status of TrueCar, Zag.com, Inc. and affiliates and opine on a variety of DMV licensing and advertising issues associated with the TrueCar program. Attached (after the jump) please find a copy of an Executive Summary of a Memorandum prepared by outside counsel.
The Executive Summary identifies a number of problems with the TrueCar model that could expose participating dealers to legal and/or licensing liability. Dealers that participate in the TrueCar program, or other similar programs, should individually review such programs with your own legal counsel for legal compliance.
Executive Summary of TrueCar Memorandum
Executive Summary of our memorandum to the California New Car Dealers Association in response to the Association’s request that we (1) review the occupational license status of TrueCar, Inc., and affiliates, Zag.com, Inc., Zag Automotive, LLC and Drive Your Dream (hereinafter collectively referred to as “TrueCar”); and (2) comment on potential occupational licensing and/or advertising issues associated with TrueCar’s brokering program and its websites. This memo is not intended, nor should it be received, as legal advice or a substitute for legal advice to California vehicle dealers. Dealers should consult with their own legal counsel for legal advice that may pertain to their situation.
TrueCar is an autobroker and vehicles displayed and offered for sale on TrueCar websites are advertisements to the public and must comply with California law. It appears that many facets of the TrueCar/Zag broker program fail to comply with California law and such non-compliance could expose both TrueCar and participating new motor vehicle dealers to legal liability and/or license action.
Zag.com is an Autobroker: Zag.com, Inc. (“Zag”) is licensed by the California Department of Motor Vehicles as an autobroker (License No. 67692). On its website (www.zag.com), Zag holds itself out to the public as “a TrueCar Company” and members of the public that visit the Zag homepage can click on a “Buy A Car” icon which will automatically transfer an internet user to the Drive Your Dream website (www.driveyourdream.zag.com) – which also indicates that it is “a TrueCar Company”. Likewise, the TrueCar website (www.truecar.com), although it has a different interface, operates in a similar manner as the Zag/driveyourdream website. (The above websites are referred to herein as the TrueCar websites.)
Dealers that participate in the TrueCar program are required to sign a Zag agreement which, among other things, requires the participating dealer to pay Zag a fee of $299 per new vehicle and $399 per used vehicle for each vehicle sold to a consumer through the TrueCar program. Vehicles offered for sale by new motor vehicle dealers that have signed an agreement with Zag are advertised on the TrueCar websites through use of Price Protection Certificates that are displayed on TrueCar websites and are downloadable by any web user. Zag invoices participating dealers monthly for each vehicle sold and requests participating dealers to remit payments to TrueCar.
The California Vehicle Code requires that all entities that broker the sale of vehicles obtain a dealer license, an autobroker endorsement to that license, and that they comply with a comprehensive regulatory scheme. Vehicle Code Section 232.5 defines “brokering” as follows:
Manning, Leaver, Bruder & Berberich
“Brokering” is an arrangement under which a dealer, for a fee or other consideration, regardless of the form or time of payment, provides or offers to provide the service of arranging, negotiating, assisting, or effectuating the purchase of a new or used motor vehicle, not owned by the
dealer, for another or others.
The manner in which TrueCar operates clearly falls within the Vehicle Code definition of “brokering”. TrueCar arranges and effectuates vehicle purchases for consumers, assists consumers in the purchasing process, obtains negotiated prices for consumers from selling dealers, and obtains a fee for its brokering services. TrueCar websites make the following statements to the public: “We secure a price guarantee for you.” “We provide you with a custom certificate that guarantees your deal.” “We search your local area to find dealers with no haggle prices.” TrueCar’s operation is unlike non-broker companies (e.g., Edmunds, Kelly BlueBook, etc.) which operate websites that contain generic vehicle and price information and may generate simple contact leads for dealers to pursue.
Non-Compliance with California Autobroker Law: Other than maintaining an autobroker license endorsement, we find no evidence that TrueCar is complying with a number of autobroker licensing requirements. Specifically, there is no evidence that: (1) there is a written broker agreement entered into with each consumer for whom TrueCar brokers a vehicle sales transaction and that a copy of it is provided to the consumer and selling dealer. [See Vehicle Code Section 11736(a).]; (2) TrueCar discloses to the consumer that it is an autobroker and that it receives a fee from the selling dealer for each vehicle for which it brokers a sale [See Vehicle Code Sections 11736(f) and 11738(d).]; and (3) that there is a disclosure on the face of the retail sale contract that a fee was paid to an autobroker and the name of the autobroker. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(x).]
1. The Statements and Information on the TrueCar Websites are Advertisements under California Law: Whether statements, representations, and other content contained on TrueCar websites are “advertisements” governed by the California Vehicle Code and DMV Regulations depends on whether they are “intentionally communicated to the public generally for the purpose of arousing a desire to buy or patronize”. [See section 255.00 of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations.] It is our opinion that enforcement agencies will most likely take the position that most of the content contained in TrueCar webpages are advertisements which must comply with California law. This assessment is made because the TrueCar websites are available to the public by simply entering the TrueCar website addresses into one’s web browser (much like web browsing an e-version of a newspaper). Some of TrueCar’s subsequent webpages are only accessible after entering a name, address, telephone number, and email address. However, any member of the public can do so and entering fictitious information will also permit an internet user to access those subsequent webpages. Moreover, it appears that an unlimited number of members of the public can enter a name and email address and obtain a Price Protection Certificate to use with the same dealer with regard to the same vehicle each consumer desires, lending more weight to the public nature of the advertising. TrueCar has initiated a national media campaign to drive members of the public to its websites for the purpose of effectuating vehicle sale transactions – for which it receives a fee of $299 or $399 from the selling dealer per vehicle sold. It is doubtful that any enforcement agency will take the position that TrueCar’s synchronized media campaign and websites are not intentionally communicated to the public generally for the purpose of arousing consumers to buy vehicles through its brokerage operation. For purposes of the discussion below and the conclusions concerning advertising law violations, we assume that representations and offers made on the TrueCar websites are advertisements made to the public generally. Also, as noted below, Business and Professions Code Section 17537.7 is an outright ban against invoice advertising and not subject to the to the public generally requirement of DMV Regulation 255.00.
Manning, Leaver, Bruder & Berberich
2. Advertising Violations: The following are problem areas in the TrueCar advertising: Autobroker Advertisements: The Vehicle Code permits an autobroker to advertise its brokering services (e.g., its ability to arrange or negotiate the sale of a new vehicle) but prohibits an autobroker from advertising the price or payment terms of any vehicle. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713(b)(1)(A).] TrueCar websites violate this provision.
Dealer Advertisements: Price Protection Certificates authorized by and containing the name of participating new motor vehicle dealers that are displayed on TrueCar websites will be enforced as advertisements against those dealers.
Invoice Advertising: The TrueCar websites are replete with references to “invoice” and use “invoice” as a benchmark when advertising vehicles for sale and in Price Protection Certificates that are displayed and which may be downloaded from the TrueCar websites. Invoice advertising of vehicles is strictly prohibited by California law. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(n) and Business and Professions Code Section 17537.7.]
Failure To Properly Describe Vehicle: Vehicles advertised on the TrueCar websites do not comply with the requirement to display the vehicle’s VIN or license number. There is an exception for providing this information when a class of five or more vehicles is being advertised that are the same make, model, and model-year. If such a class of vehicles does not exist for the price advertised, there would be an advertising law violation. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1 (a).]
Advertised Vehicles Must Be in the Dealer’s Possession: DMV regulations require that vehicles advertised must be in the dealer’s possession or available to the dealer from the manufacturer. If the vehicle is not in the dealer’s possession, the advertisement must indicate that and include an estimate of a delivery date for the buyer. [See Section 260.04(a) of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations.] Vehicles advertised with Price Protection Certificates may violate this regulation.
Pictures of Vehicles: Pictures of an advertised vehicle must be of the vehicle offered for sale. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713(s).] Many of the photos of vehicles on the TrueCar websites may have optional equipment (for example, upgraded rims or trim) not actually provided at the advertised price.
Total Price: It unlawful for a dealer to advertise the total price of a vehicle without including all costs except specified taxes and charges. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(b) and (c).] Advertisements on TrueCar websites do not appear to fully comply with this prohibition.
Failure To Sell at the Advertised Price: It is unlawful for a dealer to fail to sell a vehicle at an advertised price and any “specific vehicle advertised by a dealer or lessor-retailer shall be in condition to demonstrate and shall be willingly shown and sold at the advertised price and terms while such vehicle remains unsold or unleased, unless the advertisement states that the advertised price and terms are good only for a specific time and such time has elapsed. Advertised vehicles must be sold at or below the advertised price irrespective of whether or not the advertised price has been communicated to the purchaser”. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(e) and Section 260.04(b) of Title 13 of the California Code of Regulations.] There is nothing in the advertisements contained on the TrueCar websites that limits the time for which the price on a Price Protection Certificate is good. Also, the above statute and regulation require an advertising dealer to offer the advertised price to anyone,
whether they know of the advertised price or not.
Reasonably Expectable Demand: It is unlawful for a dealer to advertise vehicles at a specific price with the intent not to supply a reasonably expectable demand unless the advertisement discloses the number of vehicles in stock at the advertised price. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(i).]
Manning, Leaver, Bruder & Berberich
3. Some advertisements on the TrueCar websites open the door for a violation of this statute.
Incentive Advertising: It is unlawful for a dealer to advertise as the total price of a vehicle an amount that includes a rebate. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.16(e).] A review of TrueCar websites indicates that some Price Protection Certificate advertisements show a “My Price with Guarantee” amount which includes incentives, but no disclosure of the vehicle sales price before the deduction for factory incentives.
Bait and Switch: If a new motor vehicle dealer that participates in the TrueCar brokering program no longer has the vehicle for which its advertised Price Protection Certificate applies, never had the vehicle in the first place, or has the advertised vehicle but switches/up-sells a consumer to a different vehicle, there could be liability for “bait and switch” violations. [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.1(o).]
Regulation Z: Some TrueCar webpages estimate monthly financing payments without making proper Regulation Z disclosures (for example, showing an interest rate not designated as an APR). [See Vehicle Code Section 11713.16(d) and 226.24 of Title 12 of the Code of Federal Regulations.]
Dealers Are Liable for Advertisement on TrueCar Websites: A violation of one or more of the above-referenced laws constitutes grounds for the DMV to file an accusation to suspend or revoke a dealer’s license and a violation of most of the statutes is also a criminal misdemeanor. Aiding and abetting any person in the performance of any act that violates those statutes is also a violation. [See Vehicle Code Section 11700.3.] A violation of those statutes can also serve as a basis for a civil lawsuit for unfair competition and/or deceptive practices.
Unfair Competition: The TrueCar brokering program also raises serious questions of unfair competition. If TrueCar and its participating new motor vehicle dealers are able to circumvent California’s brokering and advertising laws, compliant dealers are put at a competitive disadvantage.
California lawmakers can’t roll back gas prices or revive eight-track tape players, but they soon may offer motorists something else from decades past: replica license plates.
Assembly Bill 1658 would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue plates resembling those of the 1950s, through ’80s for a fee – $50 initially, $40 per year – to cover administrative costs and raise money for environmental projects.
Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a Los Angeles Democrat who proposed the bill, said it capitalizes on nostalgia and recent production of retro-style vehicles. “What’s old is new,” he says, “and it might make the state a little money, too.”
Plates would not be issued by the DMV until 7,500 had been ordered by the public. They would come in three classic designs, with black lettering on a yellow background, or yellow lettering on either a black or blue background.
The new plates would not be exact reproductions, however. Current plates have seven digits, for example, while those of decades past had six. Reflectivity and font-type standards also have changed through the decades.
After a message surfaced on the CarWoo website informing visitors of the company’s shutdown, Auto Remarketing has confirmed with a TrueCar.com spokesperson that nine of 40 CarWoo employees are moving over to the TrueCar team, including CarWoo’s chief executive officer and co-founder.
TrueCar is also considering the option of buying “select CarWoo assets out of the foreclosure process,” the company spokesperson said.
Tommy McClung, CarWoo CEO and co-founder, will be vice president of product for TrueCar.
“CarWoo was founded with a mission to deliver the best car buying experience possible. In the end, TrueCar has emerged as the dominant force in helping to reshape automotive retail,” the TrueCar spokesperson told Auto Remarketing in an email.
“While CarWoo is shutting its doors, their team’s commitment to that mission remains unwavering. As such, nine of forty CarWoo employees will be joining TrueCar, including CarWoo’s CEO and co-founder,” the spokesperson continued.
“As a company that consistently seeks to identify, attract and retain best-in-class talent, TrueCar is excited to add the former CarWoo employees to our product and technology teams. Additionally, TrueCar will look to potentially purchase selected CarWoo assets out of the foreclosure process.”
Auto Remarketing will have more details if, and when, they emerge.
As of Thursday afternoon, the following statement was still posted to CarWoo.com:
CarWoo! is no longer accepting new car buyers as of 1/20/2014
CarWoo! was founded with a mission to deliver the best car buying experience possible. While CarWoo! is shutting its doors, our commitment to that mission remains as strong as ever.
To that end, a small group of us will be joining TrueCar, the negotiation-free car buying platform. CarWoo! helped hundreds of thousands of car buyers get a better experience. In the spirit of transparency, we believe TrueCar came up with a better way and has emerged as the dominant force in helping to reshape automotive retail. I see an incredible opportunity in this moment in time to take our successes and, equally important, our entrepreneurial learnings and apply it to what we believe will be the brand that forever changes how people buy cars.
I am personally proud to join the stellar group of innovators at TrueCar. Thank you to everyone that gave their heart and soul to CarWoo!. Our passion for building the best possible buying experience lives on.
President and CEO, CarWoo!
A trade group for Ohio car dealers is asking a Franklin County court to rescind Tesla Motors’ license to sell new cars, citing what they say are violations of Ohio law.
The plaintiffs in the case also include several central Ohio dealer groups, such as Midwestern Auto Group of Dublin, Ricart Automotive of Groveport and several of the Germain family dealerships.
“If a license is not granted with proper authority, then that license should be rescinded,” said Sara Bruce, vice president of legal affairs for the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.
The defendants are the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Tesla.
In the suit, which was filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the dealers say that the state agencies improperly approved Tesla’s dealer license earlier this year because the company did not provide a copy of its contract with the manufacturer of the vehicles to be sold.
In this case, the manufacturer and the retailer are the same company, but the dealers say that the law still calls for proper documentation.
Even if Tesla had provided a contract, it would not have been valid because the law requires such an agreement to be between “two separate contracting parties,” Bruce said.
Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Earlier this month, Tesla opened a store at Easton, the automaker’s first retail outlet in Ohio.
Also this month, the auto dealers association made an unsuccessful attempt to get the Ohio General Assembly to outlaw Tesla’s business model.
The lawsuit is the next step in the dealers’ attempt to stop Tesla from gaining a foothold in the state.
Unlike most auto brands, Tesla sells its all-electric cars directly to consumers through company-owned stores.
This is different from the way established auto brands sell their products. Companies such as Ford, General Motors and Honda sell through a network of independently owned dealers.
Established dealers have raised concerns that Tesla’s model is opening the door for other automakers to open company-owned stores, which they say would undermine the concept of an independent dealer network.
The dealers say they are trying to preserve a system that employs 50,000 Ohioans, while Tesla says the dealers are monopolists who are wary of real competition.
Tesla has faced similar legislative and legal battles in other states.
Issue a written warranty 30-day or 1000-mile to the buyer or lessee
covering the following specified parts and systems:
—Engine, including all internally lubricated parts.
—Transmission and transaxle.
—Front and rear-wheel drive components.
—Engine cooling system.
—Alternator, generator, starter, and ignition system, not including the battery.
—Front and rear suspension systems.
—Steering system and components.
—Inflatable restraint systems installed on the vehicle as originally manufactured.
—Catalytic converter and other emissions components necessary for the vehicle to
pass a California emissions test.
—Seals and gaskets on components described in the warranty (CCC §§1795.51,
2983.37, and CVC §§241, 241.1).
—Electrical, electronic, and computer components, that substantially affect the
functionality of other components described in this subdivision.
Celebrating The Life Of CHP Public Safety Dispatcher Lynde Cook
January 22, 2014
“She loved the department and loved what she did. Never did she let her illness get in the way, she never wanted to bring people down.” – Victor Tovar, CHP-PSDA Vice President
UKIAH- On January 11, 2014, family, friends, colleagues and Ukiah community members celebrated the life of CHP Public Safety Dispatcher Lynde Cook. Cook passed away November 7 at the age of 50 after a nearly two year battle with stage IV lung cancer.
“We waited for all of her friends and relatives to travel here,” said Lois Cook, Lynde’s mother. “Lynde told us all, ‘when I die, don’t cry for me, pour the champagne and raise a glass.'”
For 12 years, Lynde worked as a CHP Public Safety Dispatcher in Ukiah, the small town she was born and raised in. She loved answering calls for help.
“Lynde started working for the CHP in 2000, right here in the Ukiah Communication Center where she stayed her entire career,” said Captain Jim Epperson, CHP Ukiah Area Commander. “She was a very reliable and dedicated worker. She was always willing to help whenever and wherever needed. She had a true passion for dispatch!”
When Lynde was diagnosed with cancer, she dispatched her own call for help, asking long-time, childhood and Facebook friends for support. The group of women who stepped forward became known as Lynde’s Ladies.
“There was always somebody there for her,” said Lois Cook. “They held a fundraiser with a band and a dance and an auction. She had an incredible amount of support.”
“Our dispatchers become a very tight knit group,” said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) which represents CHP dispatchers and nearly 7,000 other law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work for the State of California. “They share experiences and stresses that are unique to emergency dispatch. There is sadness in their hearts over Lynde’s passing, but they also remember what a vivacious and courageous person she was, something I hope they can find strength in as they heal from this great loss.”
Lynde lived the first 18 years of her life in Ukiah. She grew up on Robinson Creek Ranch with her four siblings. In school she was active in the marching band and involved in sports. She loved softball. Lynde attended Sacramento State University and remained in Sacramento for several years working and playing in softball leagues and tournaments including several All-State Championships.
While in Sacramento, Lynde joined the National Guard and served overseas during Desert Storm. She enjoyed other cultures and some of her favorite travel memories were of trips to Guatemala, South Africa, and her service time in Saudi Arabia.
Lynde leaves behind a 19 year old son. Jalen Cook was the best part of Lynde’s life, her mother said. Soon after Jalen was born, Lynde moved back to Ukiah to be closer to family. She worked at the Ukiah Valley Medical Center as a medical assistant and then became a dispatcher for CHP where she worked until her medical retirement in 2012.
“I loved her dearly and miss her beautiful smile and her quick wit and laughter,” said friend and fellow CHP Dispatcher Joanne Vital. “She loved her job and was a very dedicated employee. She would go the extra mile to solve a problem or find information for officers’ investigations. She was a very caring person and a dear friend.”
“The outstanding character of hers, she was always smiling,” said Lois Cook. “She kept her sense of humor. She was cheerful. She made other people feel good when she felt bad. She fought hard.”
In addition to her son, Jalen, Lynde is survived by her mother, Lois Cook of Ukiah, sisters Rhoby Cook of Hoopa, Kristy Cook of Takoma Park, MD, and brother Kirby Cook of Hamilton, MT. She was predeceased by her father, Waldo Cook, and brother, Randy Cook.
Memorial donations may be made to the Ukiah Cancer Resource Center at 590 S. Dora Street in Ukiah, the National Foundation for Cancer Research, or the Lynde C. Cook Memorial Athletic Scholarship through Ukiah High School.
Vehicles: dealers: used vehicle sales: labeling requirements.
Existing law regulates the accuracy of information provided to consumers during vehicle sales, including the information contained in advertising, brochures, and manuals, as specified.
Existing law also requires manufacturers, as specified, to disclose certain information regarding a vehicles engine, as specified, by affixing a label on the vehicle. A violation of these provisions is an infraction.
This bill requires a licensed dealer, as defined, to affix to and to prominently and conspicuously display a label on any used vehicle offered for retail sale that states the reasonable market value of the vehicle.
The bill requires the label to contain specified information used to determine the vehicles reasonable market value and the date the value was determined.
The bill requires a licensed dealer to provide to a prospective buyer of the used vehicle a copy of any information obtained from a nationally recognized pricing guide that the licensed dealer used to determine the reasonable market value of the vehicle.
The bill requires the label to meet all the following conditions:
a) Be in writing with a heading that reads “REASONABLE
MARKET VALUE OF THIS VEHICLE” in at least 16-point bold
type and text in at least 12-point type.
b) Be located adjacent to the window sticker identifying
the equipment provided with the vehicle, or if none,
located prominently and conspicuously on the vehicle.
c) Contain the information used to determine the reasonable
market value, including, but not limited to, use of a
nationally recognized pricing guide for used vehicles, and
the date the reasonable market value was determined.
d) Indicate that the reasonable market value is being
provided only for comparison shopping and is not the retail
sale price or the advertised price of the vehicle.
The bill defines “nationally recognized pricing guide” as including,
but not limited to, the Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, the Black
Book, or the National Automobile Dealers’ Association (NADA)
· File a Fictitious Name Statement with the county clerk
and have it published in a local paper.
The dealer must file a Fictitious Name Statement with
the county clerk of jurisdiction for the office location.
A list of California county websites: http://www.csac.counties.org/default.asp?id=7·
Utilize the Web. Did you know that most wholesale dealers search the internet prior to purchasing a vehicle? A good wholesaler will recognize a low priced car at auction buy it and resell it a week later at the same auction.
Keep in mind that delivery of the vehicle to the buyer must occur at the sellers licensed location. Some wholesalers will buy seasoned stock ( vehicles which are front line ready on a retailers lot but approaching 60 days in inventory ) and swap them out for vehicles freshly obtained. This allows the used car sales manager to restart the clock on that seasoned stock. These deals are often done book for book, the wholesaler ends up with added value. In a front line ready car the wholesaler can sell to another dealer, but it will often take a series of these book for book trades before you can actually see profits. Many small used car lots do not have the time to go to auction. A good wholesaler can stock these smaller lots and make a small profit on each car.
Don’t ever consign a vehicle to another dealer. The wholesale license is a good starting place for the beginner; lesser bond, easier zoning and access to the market. Dealer plates and insurance are included in the wholesale package but as a wholesaler one can only buy and sell within the industry. That means as a wholesaler you can sell only to other dealers, there is no buying off the street. If and when a wholesaler has a vehicle to sell to the public he/she may draft that sale through a licensed retailer, this is call this a drafted sale.
Remember the drafted sale creates liability for the retailer. Typical draft fee is $ 500. We advise the following: no loss selling ( wholesaler must sell higher than acquisition cost ), smog safety and verification provided by wholesaler, wholesaler as contact person on the buyers guide, statement from wholesaler assuming all liability if customer is not happy. Then the retailer collects and pays all taxes and fees, and sends the documents to DMV for processing.
Wholesale Dealers cannot sell to the Public (only to other Car Dealers).
Wholesale Car Dealers have a lower bond requirement and spend less on insurance.
When selling to the public you must use a Drafted Sale.
Wholesale dealers provide a much needed asset to the retail car market. Wholesalers provide cars to retail dealers and often facilitate trades among dealers. A good car buyer will make a little on each car (perhaps $ 300), but can only sell up to 24 cars in one year.
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A dealer may not engage in brokering a retail sales transaction without having an autobroker’s endorsement to their dealer’s license.
Upon issuance of an autobroker’s endorsement to a dealer’s license, the department shall furnish the dealer with an autobroker’s log. The autobroker’s log remains the property of the department and may be taken at any time for inspection.
The autobroker’s log must contain the following information with respect to each retail sale brokered by that dealer:
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Mail completed and signed order forms to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
MS – L224
P.O. Box 932342
Sacramento, CA 94232-3420
The Department of Motor Vehicles – Investigations Division is geographically organized into 3 Regions; Northern, Central, and Southern. Consisting of 9 Area Commands with 26 district supervisors directly supervising 26 district offices and 11 satellite offices.
In addition, the Department has an internal investigations unit tasked with investigating allegations of employee misconduct. The Special Operations Command is located in Sacramento with 4 district supervisors directly supervising 3 district offices and 1 technical services unit.
It is the responsibility of the Area Commander to monitor division programs and services provided to the public. The Area Commander directs services through the Supervising Investigator at the district level.
Supervising Investigators oversee complex criminal, administrative, and civil investigations conducted by sworn investigators of the department involving
In the performance of their duties and under the general oversight of the Area Commander, DMV Supervising Investigators and Investigators investigate the following types of crimes:
Unlicensed dealer activity;
Unlicensed dismantler activity;
Fraudulent and counterfeit DMV documents;
Vehicle identification and Odometer fraud;
Vehicle industry fraud (consumer fraud);
DMV related high tech computer crimes; and
To further investigations, DMV Investigators utilize some investigative techniques such as:
Participate in surveillance and undercover operations;
Prepare and serve search and arrest warrants;
Testify as expert witnesses; and
Work in cooperation with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.
INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION GEOGRAPHIC JURISDICTION
The Area Commander’s report to a Deputy Chief for each region.
Region I – Northern California
Lisa McMillan, Deputy Chief
2120 Broadway MS-215
Sacramento, CA 95818
Phone: (916) 657-5983
Fax: (916) 657-8350
Region I – Northern consists of the Bay, Central and Northern Area Commands.
The Bay Area Command has four Investigative District Offices which are located in Brisbane and Milpitas (three). Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Bay Area Commander:
Region I – Bay Area Command
Lisa Martinez, Area Commander
860 Hillview Court, Suite 100
Milpitas, CA 95035
The Central Area Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in Fresno, Bakersfield and Stockton. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Central Area Commander:
Region I – Central Area Command
Tom Wilson, Area Commander
2510 S. East Avenue, Suite 100B
Fresno, CA 93706
Phone: (559) 444-2529
Fax: (559) 444-2530
The Northern Area Command has three Investigative District Offices which are located in Rocklin, Sacramento and Vallejo. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Northern Area Commander:
Region I – Northern Area Command
Mary Bienko, Area Commander
4240 Rocklin Road #11
Rocklin, CA 95677
Phone: (916) 630-5616
Fax: (916) 630-5600
Region II Southern California
Vacant, Deputy Chief
750 The City Drive, Suite 200
Orange, CA 92868
Phone: (714) 703-4108
Fax: (714) 703-4138
Region II Southern consists of the Inland, Orange and Southern Area Commands.
The Inland Area Command has two Investigative District Offices, which are located in Riverside. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Inland Area Commander:
Region II – Inland Area Command
Gregory Huber, Area Commander
6296 River Crest Drive, Suite A
Riverside, CA 92507
Phone: (951) 697-4546
Fax: (951) 656- 4671
The Orange Area Command has two Investigative District Offices, which are located in Orange, CA. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Orange Area Commander:
Region II – Orange Area Command
Elizabeth Devellerez, Area Commander
750 The City Drive, Suite 200
Orange, CA 92868
Phone: (714) 703-4100
Fax: (714) 703-4128
The Southern Area Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in San Diego (two) and Chula Vista. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Southern Area Commander:
Region II – Southern Area Command
Theodora Claudio, Area Commander
2878 Camino Del Rio South #310
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 767-2355
Fax: (619) 491-3070
Region III Central California
Vito Scattaglia, Deputy Chief
14400 Van Nuys Blvd.,
Arleta, CA 91331
Phone: (818) 686-3417
Fax: (818) 899-5896
Region III Central consists of the Midland, Pacific and Valley Area Commands.
The Midland Area Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in El Monte, Los Angeles, and West Covina. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Midland Area Commander:
Region III – Midland Area Command
Eugene Devellerez, Area Commander
3204 Rosemead Boulevard #204
El Monte, CA 91731
Phone: (626) 927-1094
Fax: (626) 927-1097
The Pacific Area Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in Artesia (two) and Culver City. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Pacific Area Commander:
Region III – Pacific Area Command
Stephanie Wheaton, Area Commander
621 N. La Brea Avenue
Inglewood, CA 90302
Phone: (310) 412-6111
Fax: (310) 412-6443
The Valley Area Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in Lincoln Park, Mission Hills, and Ventura. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.gov for a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Valley Area Commander:
Region III – Valley Area Command
Paula Lucero, Area Commander
15455 San Fernando Mission Blvd., #305
Mission Hills, CA 91345
Phone: (818) 365-4202
Fax: (818) 361-7351
SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND
The Special Operations Command has three Investigative District Offices, which are located in Sacramento, West Covina, and Riverside. Please refer to DMV website at www.dmv.ca.govfor a listing of the office addresses and phone numbers. To write or contact the Special Operations Commander;
The Red Flags Rule requires many businesses and organizations to implement a written Identity Theft Prevention Program designed to detect the warning signs — or “red flags” — of identity theft in their day-to-day operations. By identifying red flags in advance, businesses will be better equipped to spot suspicious patterns that may arise — and take steps to prevent a red flag from escalating into a costly episode of identity theft.
Resources on this site can help business people educate their staff and colleagues about complying with the Red Flags Rule.
What Compliance Looks Like
Your Identity Theft Prevention Program is a “playbook” that must include reasonable policies and procedures for detecting, preventing, and mitigating identity theft. Your Program should enable your organization to:
identify relevant patterns, practices, and specific forms of activity — the “red flags” — that signal possible identity theft;
incorporate business practices to detect red flags;
detail your appropriate response to any red flags you detect to prevent and mitigate identity theft; and
be updated periodically to reflect changes in risks from identity theft.
The Red Flags Rule also includes guidelines to help financial institutions and creditors develop and implement a Program, including a supplement that offers examples of red flags.
The FTC and the federal financial agencies have issued Frequently Asked Questions and answers to help businesses comply with the Rule.
Who Must Comply with the Red Flags Rule?
The Rule requires “financial institutions” and “creditors” that hold consumer accounts designed to permit multiple payments or transactions — or any other account for which there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of identity theft — to develop and implement an Identity Theft Prevention Program for new and existing accounts. The definition of “financial institution” includes:
all banks, savings associations, and credit unions, regardless of whether they hold a transaction account belonging to a consumer; and
anyone else who directly or indirectly holds a transaction account belonging to a consumer.
A change in the law on December 18, 2010 amended the the definition of “creditor,” and limits the circumstances under which creditors are covered. The new law covers creditors who regularly, and in the ordinary course of business, meet one of three general criteria. They must:
obtain or use consumer reports in connection with a credit transaction;
furnish information to consumer reporting agencies in connection with a credit transaction; or
advance funds to — or on behalf of — someone, except for funds for expenses incidental to a service provided by the creditor to that person.
Bookmark this site and check it often for revisions that reflect changes in the law.
Are you taking steps to protect personal information? Safeguarding sensitive data in your files and on your computers is just plain good business. After all, if that information falls into the wrong hands, it can lead to fraud or identity theft.
Provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help computer users be on guard against Internet fraud, secure their computers, and protect their personal information.
Do I need “gap insurance” when I buy a new car? The dealer is offering it for about $600.
You may be required to include gap coverage in your monthly payments if you lease a vehicle, but otherwise you’re better off self-insuring.
Gap insurance covers the difference between the amount you owe on your car loan and the amount your auto insurance company will pay out if you total the car. Car dealers and lenders often offer gap insurance for $500 to $700, and you’ll pay interest on that amount if it’s rolled into the loan.
Gap insurance sounds like a good idea because your car loses value as soon as you drive it off the dealer’s lot. So if you make a low down payment (less than 20%) and wreck your car soon after buying it, you could owe more on the loan than the car is worth. And if you have a long-term loan — 48 months or longer — it could be quite a while before your loan balance is less than the car’s value.
If you’re uncomfortable with that risk, you may be able to add gap coverage to your auto policy for less than the lender charges for stand-alone protection. You’ll typically pay 5% to 6% of the cost of your collision and comprehensive coverage for gap insurance, says Des Toups, managing editor of CarInsurance.com — or $50 to $60 per year if collision and comprehensive cost $1,000.
You can drop gap coverage when your loan balance is close to your car’s value. Check values at KBB.com or Edmunds.com.
On Monday, a judge decided there was enough evidence to send John Mussari, the former owner of Mussari Motors in Miramar, to trial. Mussari is accused of cheating clients out of tens of thousands of dollars. NBC 7 Investigates reporter Mari Payton has more.
Thanks to reports from NBC 7 Investigates, the District Attorney’s Office says more potential victims have come forward, and they were finally able to get enough evidence to go to trial.
NBC 7 Investigates first revealed customer complaints about Mussari and his high-end car dealership, Mussari Motors, in Nov. 2011.
Five years after the first complaints of theft and financial fraud were reported to the DMV, John Mussari was bound over for trial on 16 counts and five allegations.
“Our goal is to obtain as much restitution as possible and to also seek justice on their behalf,” Deputy District Attorney Luis Mendez said. “A lot of them are very upset and they took tie out of their lives today to testify.”
Mendez said Mussari took pre-owned Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Mercedes on consignment, sold single cars to multiple buyers, never paid the original owners and defrauded finance companies and banks.