Bill S900-2011

Requires motor vehicle sales contracts to be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated

Requires motor vehicle sales and lease contract terms be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated; requires retail motor vehicle dealers who negotiate primarily in languages other than English deliver to consumers a translation of such contracts in the language in which such contracts were negotiated; provides remedies to aggrieved consumers.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 4, 2012: REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • Jan 5, 2011: REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S900

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the general business law and the personal property law, in relation to requiring certain contracts to be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated

PURPOSE: To ensure that persons with limited English proficiency understand the contract they sign when purchasing an automobile.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 396-p of the general business law, as added by chapter 736 of the laws of 1978, is amended by adding a new subdivision 2-a to include any retail automobile dealer who negotiates a contract in a language other than English, is required to give the consumer a written translation of the contract in the language in which the contract was negotiated. Failure to comply shall allow the aggrieved consumer to rescind the contract. Cancellation shall take effect when the termination is given to the retail dealer. If the cancellation is mailed, the day of the postmark is the date of the cancellation.

There will be no penalty imposed by the retail dealer for cancellation. If the contract has been sold to a financial institution, any restitution from the consumer to the retail dealer, from the retail dealer to the consumer or from the retail dealer to the financial institution shall be made. At that point the retail dealer shall repurchase the contract from the consumer.

The terms of the contract which are executed in the English language shall determine the rights and obligations of the parties. The translation of the contract in which the contract was negotiated shall be admissible in evidence only to show that no contract was entered into because of a substantial difference in the material terms and conditions of the contract and the translation.

The General Business Law is amended by adding a new section 198-c. This section deals with the sale or lease of used motor vehicles and applies the same criteria for contract negotiation as above. Additionally, this section provides that a violation of this section shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed fifty dollars for the first offense and two hundred fifty dollars for the second and each subsequent offense.

Section 337 of the personal property law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5-a. Again, the same criteria for negotiating a contract apply.

JUSTIFICATION: New York State's population has become increasingly diverse. The number of New Yorkers who speak a language other than English as their primary language has increased significantly. According to a report by the Drum

Major Institute, June 2005, almost 25% of New Yorkers do not speak English, and almost 50 percent speak a language other than English in the home. Asian immigrants account for 24.6% of this number. According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, in New York city 48 percent of the population speaks other than English as their primary language. of that forty eight percent, 23.5 percent speak English less than very well. This represents 1,821,098 people in NYC alone per the 2006-2008 Survey.

Despite their growing and powerful presence in New York State, many new immigrants, because of their limited English skills, have found themselves to be easy targets for unscrupulous business owners. New immigrants have fallen victim to deceptive business practices that attempt to prey on and profit from their inability to fully comprehend the English language. This is especially true in complex business transactions.

This predatory behavior is exemplified by unscrupulous car dealers who offer to negotiate in a consumer's primary language, only to present the consumer with a written contract in English - one which, unbeknown to the customer, may not accurately reflect negotiated terms. Many New York car dealerships have begun using translators to negotiate with non-English speaking consumers. However, when these verbal negotiations are put in writing, they are written in English without including a copy in the language in which the contract was negotiated. Non-English speaking consumers would gain a measure of confidence in dealing with dealerships who offer to meet their unique needs in this way.

Ethnic communities contribute greatly to the economic and political vitality of the state and serve as a powerful force in the marketplace. This law would provide much needed protection for non-English speaking consumers.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: This legislation was previously introduced.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to the state.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to contracts entered into on or after such date.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 900 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE (PREFILED) January 5, 2011 ___________
Introduced by Sen. STAVISKY -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Consumer Protection AN ACT to amend the general business law and the personal property law, in relation to requiring certain contracts to be written in the language in which such contracts were negotiated THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 396-p of the general business law, as added by chapter 736 of the laws of 1978, is amended by adding a new subdivision 2-a to read as follows: 2-A. ANY RETAIL DEALER WHO NEGOTIATES PRIMARILY IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH, ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IN THE COURSE OF ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT PROVIDED FOR IN PARAGRAPH (B) OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS SECTION, SHALL DELIVER TO THE CONSUMER WHO IS THE OTHER PARTY TO SUCH CONTRACT AND PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF SUCH CONTRACT, AN UNSIGNED TRANS- LATION OF SUCH CONTRACT, IN THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH SUCH CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED. (A) IN ADDITION TO THE PENALTIES IMPOSED UNDER SUBDIVISION SIX OF THIS SECTION, FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL ENTITLE THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER TO CANCEL SUCH CONTRACT. UPON A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE AGGRIEVED CONSUM- ER MAY CANCEL THE CONTRACT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, CANCELLA- TION SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED WHEN WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLA- TION IS GIVEN TO THE RETAIL DEALER. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION, IF MAILED, SHALL BE DEEMED DELIVERED ON THE DATE OF THE POSTMARK. NOTICE OF CANCEL- LATION SHALL BE SUFFICIENT IF SUCH NOTICE INDICATES THE INTENTION OF THE CONSUMER NOT TO BE BOUND BY SUCH CONTRACT. IF A CONSUMER CANCELS A CONTRACT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH, THE RETAIL DEALER SHALL NOT IMPOSE ANY PENALTY OR OBLIGATION UPON SUCH CONSUMER. WHEN A CONTRACT, WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AND ASSIGNED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IS CANCELED PURSUANT
TO THIS SUBDIVISION, SUCH CONSUMER SHALL MAKE RESTITUTION TO AND HAVE RESTITUTION MADE BY THE RETAIL DEALER WITH WHOM HE OR SHE MADE THE CONTRACT, AND SHALL GIVE NOTICE OF CANCELLATION TO THE ASSIGNEE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE CONTRACT WAS ASSIGNED WITHOUT RECOURSE, THE ASSIGNMENT SHALL BE DEEMED CANCELED AND THE ASSIGNOR SHALL PROMPTLY REPURCHASE THE CONTRACT FROM THE ASSIGNEE. (B) THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT WHICH IS EXECUTED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE SHALL DETERMINE THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE PARTIES. HOWEVER, THE TRANSLATION OF THE CONTRACT IN ANY LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH IN WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED SHALL BE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE ONLY TO SHOW THAT NO CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO BECAUSE OF A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE MATERIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTRACT AND THE TRANSLATION. (C) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER RIGHTS TO REVOKE AN OFFER. S 2. The general business law is amended by adding a new section 198-d to read as follows: S 198-D. CONTRACTS IN CERTAIN LANGUAGES FOR THE SALE OR LEASE OF USED MOTOR VEHICLES. ANY RETAIL DEALER WHO NEGOTIATES PRIMARILY IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH, ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IN THE COURSE OF ENTERING INTO A CONTRACT FOR THE SALE OR LEASE OF A USED MOTOR VEHICLE WITH A CONSUM- ER, SHALL DELIVER TO SUCH CONSUMER WHO IS THE OTHER PARTY TO SUCH CONTRACT AND PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF SUCH CONTRACT, AN UNSIGNED TRANS- LATION OF SUCH CONTRACT, IN THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH SUCH CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED. A. IN ADDITION TO THE PENALTIES IMPOSED UNDER SUBDIVISION D OF THIS SECTION, FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL ENTITLE THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER TO CANCEL SUCH CONTRACT. UPON A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION, THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER MAY CANCEL THE CONTRACT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, CANCELLATION SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED WHEN WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION IS GIVEN TO THE RETAIL DEALER. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION, IF MAILED, SHALL BE DEEMED DELIVERED ON THE DATE OF THE POSTMARK. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION SHALL BE SUFFICIENT IF SUCH NOTICE INDICATES THE INTENTION OF THE CONSUMER NOT TO BE BOUND BY SUCH CONTRACT. IF A CONSUMER CANCELS A CONTRACT PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, THE RETAIL DEALER SHALL NOT IMPOSE ANY PENALTY OR OBLIGATION UPON SUCH CONSUMER. WHEN A CONTRACT, WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AND ASSIGNED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IS CANCELED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, SUCH CONSUMER SHALL MAKE RESTITUTION TO AND HAVE RESTITUTION MADE BY THE RETAIL DEALER WITH WHOM HE OR SHE MADE THE CONTRACT, AND SHALL GIVE NOTICE OF CANCELLATION TO THE ASSIGNEE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE CONTRACT WAS ASSIGNED WITHOUT RECOURSE, THE ASSIGNMENT SHALL BE DEEMED CANCELED AND THE ASSIGNOR SHALL PROMPTLY REPURCHASE THE CONTRACT FROM THE ASSIGNEE. B. THE TERMS OF THE CONTRACT WHICH IS EXECUTED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE SHALL DETERMINE THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE PARTIES. HOWEVER, THE TRANSLATION OF THE CONTRACT IN ANY LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH IN WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS NEGOTIATED SHALL BE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE ONLY TO SHOW THAT NO CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO BECAUSE OF A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE MATERIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTRACT AND THE TRANSLATION. C. THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER RIGHTS TO REVOKE AN OFFER. D. ANY RETAIL DEALER OR EMPLOYEE OF A DEALER WHO VIOLATES ANY OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION SHALL BE SUBJECT TO A CIVIL PENALTY NOT TO EXCEED FIFTY DOLLARS FOR THE FIRST OFFENSE AND TWO HUNDRED FIFTY DOLLARS FOR THE SECOND AND EACH SUBSEQUENT OFFENSE.
S 3. Section 337 of the personal property law is amended by adding a new subdivision 5-a to read as follows: 5-A. ANY RETAIL DEALER WHO NEGOTIATES PRIMARILY IN A LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH, ORALLY OR IN WRITING, IN THE COURSE OF ENTERING INTO A RETAIL LEASE AGREEMENT PROVIDED FOR IN THIS SECTION, SHALL DELIVER TO THE CONSUMER WHO IS THE OTHER PARTY TO SUCH AGREEMENT AND PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF SUCH AGREEMENT, AN UNSIGNED TRANSLATION OF SUCH AGREEMENT, IN THE LANGUAGE IN WHICH SUCH AGREEMENT WAS NEGOTIATED. (A) IN ADDITION TO THE PENALTIES IMPOSED UNDER SECTION THREE HUNDRED FORTY-SIX OF THIS ARTICLE, FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL ENTITLE THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER TO CANCEL SUCH AGREE- MENT. UPON A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION, THE AGGRIEVED CONSUMER MAY CANCEL THE AGREEMENT. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, CANCELLATION SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED WHEN WRITTEN NOTICE OF CANCELLATION IS GIVEN TO THE RETAIL DEALER. NOTICE OF CANCEL- LATION, IF MAILED, SHALL BE DEEMED DELIVERED ON THE DATE OF THE POST- MARK. NOTICE OF CANCELLATION SHALL BE SUFFICIENT IF SUCH NOTICE INDI- CATES THE INTENTION OF THE CONSUMER NOT TO BE BOUND BY SUCH AGREEMENT. IF A CONSUMER CANCELS AN AGREEMENT PURSUANT TO THIS PARAGRAPH, THE RETAIL DEALER SHALL NOT IMPOSE ANY PENALTY OR OBLIGATION UPON SUCH CONSUMER. WHEN AN AGREEMENT, WHICH HAS BEEN SOLD AND ASSIGNED TO A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IS CANCELED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION, SUCH CONSUMER SHALL MAKE RESTITUTION TO AND HAVE RESTITUTION MADE BY THE RETAIL DEALER WITH WHOM HE OR SHE MADE THE AGREEMENT, AND SHALL GIVE NOTICE OF CANCELLATION TO THE ASSIGNEE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE AGREE- MENT WAS ASSIGNED WITHOUT RECOURSE, THE ASSIGNMENT SHALL BE DEEMED CANCELED AND THE ASSIGNOR SHALL PROMPTLY REPURCHASE THE AGREEMENT FROM THE ASSIGNEE. (B) THE TERMS OF THE AGREEMENT WHICH IS EXECUTED IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE SHALL DETERMINE THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE PARTIES. HOWEVER, THE TRANSLATION OF THE AGREEMENT IN ANY LANGUAGE OTHER THAN ENGLISH IN WHICH THE AGREEMENT WAS NEGOTIATED SHALL BE ADMISSIBLE IN EVIDENCE ONLY TO SHOW THAT NO CONTRACT WAS ENTERED INTO BECAUSE OF A SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE MATERIAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE AGREEMENT AND THE TRANSLATION. (C) THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER RIGHTS TO REVOKE AN OFFER. S 4. This act shall take effect on the one hundred twentieth day after it shall have become a law and shall apply to contracts entered into on or after such effective date.

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