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July 01, 2006

California Car Buyers Bills Of Rights

California's "Car Buyer's Bill of Rights" is now in effect, giving people shopping for new and used cars some protections they didn't have before.

But consumers didn't get as many safeguards as the original bill intended, and they have to pay for the most important new provision  --  the ability to return a used vehicle after a two-day "cooling off" period.

The bill of rights, which took effect Saturday July 1, 2006, also defines what constitutes a "certified" used car, mandates disclosure of all add-ons for new and used vehicles and caps the amount dealers can charge for financing.

--  Buyers of used cars can purchase the right to return a vehicle within two days (not three). The price of the return option depends on the cost of the car but, if exercised, will typically run between $100 and $250.

--  Dealers must disclose itemized prices for all additional items in new and used cars, such as service contracts and car alarms.

--  Dealers' markup on lender rates is limited to no more than 2.5 percent.

--  Uniform standards now apply for any used car advertised as "certified" by a dealer, including that the odometer be free of tampering.

More information about the law can be found at www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/billrights_top.htm.

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