CAG Action Alert

Veto of the Day: Tell Gov. Justice to Veto SB 543 & Keep Dangerous, Defective Vehicles off our Roads

West Virginia Citizen Action Group
West Virginia
Citizen Action Group
Mar 13, 2019 View / Comment Online



When you buy a used car from a dealer, you expect it to be drivable.  You also expect the dealer to disclose any problems with the vehicle because repairs could cost you thousands more.  SB 543 changes that and allows the sale of “as is” cars.  The law would also permit the sale of used, defective vehicles if the defects are “disclosed”–even though most consumers don’t read the fine print–and the defects can be major ones that make the vehicle unsafe to drive. 

You should know if you’re buying a lemon!
Tell Governor Justice to protect consumers & keep WV’s roads safe.

Current West Virginia law requires that when used vehicles are sold by dealers, they will work for a reasonable amount of time.  This “warranty of merchantability” guarantees that when you buy a car, it’s roadworthy.  This warranty requires that the vehicle be “in good working order,” and “operate properly in normal usage for a reasonable period of time.”  This is the only law that protects you and other consumers by requiring that the vehicles will at least pass inspection before they are sold. 

Tell Governor Justice to protect consumers & keep WV’s roads safe by vetoing SB 543!

Example:  In 2014, a Sissonville woman had her 2004 Jeep totaled in an accident.  With the insurance money she received, she purchased a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica from a used car dealer in South Charleston.  The car had 81,000 miles on it, but looked good and had a new inspection sticker on it.  The “Carfax” report was clean, so she and her husband purchased the car for $5,345.  Three weeks later, they had new tires put on the car, but it couldn’t be aligned.  Why?  Because the car’s subframe, which keeps the engine from falling out, was rusted completely.  The car never should have passed inspection.  When they returned the car to the dealer, he refused to take responsibility for it–even though a rudimentary inspection would have exposed the problem.  He said, “I’m not going to be the one to eat this.”  Because of current law; however, he was required to provide the $2,000 repair a month later.  (Charleston Gazette Mail – February 22, 2015)

Now, the West Virginia Legislature has passed SB 543.  Under this new law, a consumer like this would be powerless and the dealer would be in the clear.  Any repairs would be the buyer’s responsibility once the sale agreement with the “as is” disclaimer is signed. 

Proponents argue that this would allow more people to be able to afford cars–but those are the very consumers who would not be able to afford additional repairs for problems buried in the fine print.  If you’ve spent your last dollar to buy the car, you don’t have the money to then pay for expensive repairs.  These individuals could be hurt again when their car doesn’t start, they can’t get to work on time and they lose their job.

“As is” sales allows dangerous, defective cars on the roads, risking the lives of other West Virginians too. 

Help protect yourself and other WV consumers from this bad bill. 
Don’t let it become law! Tell Governor Justice to veto SB 543.

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