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Used car prices must be prominently posted under proposed legislation

When shopping for a specific used car, Heidy Valeria says she asked many times how much it would cost.

Before giving the price, the dealer had Valeria’s driver’s license and did a credit check. Valeria didn’t know how much the car cost until told to sign a contract – $25,000 at 25% interest. She felt at that point she had no option to negotiate and signed.

Her story was one of many reported to the Council on Latino Affairs by Minnesotans who felt taken advantage of by strong-armed tactics and withholding of information. 

Sponsored by Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Mpls), HF2824 aims to increase transparency by requiring auto dealers to prominently display the price of a used car so prospective buyers know it before submitting a credit application.

As amended, the bill was laid over Wednesday for possible omnibus bill inclusion by the House Commerce Finance and Policy Committee.

Prices would need be displayed in large print on the vehicle windshield for cars on a lot. Dealer websites would also clearly indicate a vehicle’s price.

Lee said the proposed legislation would be especially helpful for people whose primary language is not English. 

Rep. Eric Lucero (R-St. Michael) noted most used car dealers put information stickers on the driver’s side rear window.

Rep. Tim O'Driscoll (R-Sartell) asked if anyone had contacted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as the federal Truth in Lending Act requires disclosure of price.

The companion, SF3835, is sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Port (DFL-Burnsville) and awaits action by the Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Finance and Policy Committee.

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