Tell Lawmakers: Protect Consumers from Shady Car Dealers and Debt Collectors

Today, we’ve got a two-for-one special on actions you can take now to protect consumers in West Virginia!

First, SB 556 and SB 563 are a pair of bills that would gut the West Virginia Consumer Credit Protection Act (WVCCPA) and allow predatory debt collectors to run wild.

For the past two years, the WVCCPA has been chipped away at by the legislature, but this year, a proposed bill would essentially remove consumer protections under the Act. The WVCCPA is an important incentive for keeping debt collectors from being unethical and abusive.

Debt collectors’ victims are often struggling to keep up with bills, so they can’t afford to protect their interests by hiring a lawyer. One way the law protects people is that for successful cases, the attorney fees are paid by the abusive debt collectors. The most regressive proposed bills, SB 556 and SB 563, would not only remove the ability to get attorneys fees covered by successful suits, but also could force people in debt to pay the attorneys fees for the big banks and debt collectors, the exact opposite of what the law should be.

Please write to the Senate Judiciary Committee and ask them to protect the Consumer Credit Protection Act and vote NO on SB 556 and SB 563. Your letters let the Senate Judiciary Committee know that the public has no stomach for this kind of unnecessary rollback of protections. Click here to send a letter now!


 

Second, the House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that lets shady car dealers sell lemons without much risk of consequences, leaving buyers holding the bag.

Senate Bill 216 is up for consideration by the House Judiciary Committee. This bill would weaken consumer protections for used car purchases.

Currently, when middle and upper income families purchase new cars they are protected by a “Lemon Law.” Low income families who can only afford to buy used cars have much less protection. Their used cars only have to be able to pass inspection and “operate properly in normal usage for a reasonable period of time.” The period of time that is “reasonable” depends mostly on what the consumer paid. Now the Legislature may take away even that protection and let used car dealers turn a blind eye to a car’s problems and sell it “as is”.

For example, one low income single mom had a car with a lot of miles on it. She had gotten an income tax refund, and she wanted to trade for a car with fewer miles that would keep getting her to work. She went to a used car lot, test drove a car around the block and it ran fine! She traded in her old car. She gave the dealer her tax refund as a down payment. She agreed to pay additional monthly payments. She started to drive the car home. However, she lived at the top of a hill and her newly purchased car had a bad transmission that would not pull the car up the hill!

Under current law the dealer has to fix the transmission. If an “as is” bill passes, then she will not be able to get her old car back, she will not be able to get her down payment back, and she will still owe the additional monthly payments. In addition, she will have to pay a bunch of money to fix the transmission before she can use the car to drive to work and support her family.

We are OPPOSED to SB 216 that lets used car dealers turn a blind eye to bad cars and sell them “As Is”. Write the House Judiciary Committee now and let them know we don’t want to let dealers sell lemons with no recourse for buyers!

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