Heartland Institute Responds to Passage of Auto Salvage Bills

Published March 14, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC MARCH 14 – The Heartland Institute’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate today welcomed news that legislation seeking to crack down on auto salvage fraud has passed the Utah legislature, while an omnibus measure in Florida was amended to ensure important salvage consumer protections are preserved.

The Utah bill, S.B. 260, passed the state’s Senate March 5 by a 21–5 vote and the state’s House March 8 by a 70–2 margin. The measure restricts auto salvage auctions to firms with valid Utah business and sales tax licenses and requires salvage transactions to be reported to the state motor vehicle enforcement division and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. The bill also creates a category for total loss vehicles that cannot be repaired.

The Florida bill, H.B. 885, passed both the state House and Senate March 9 by unanimous 114–0 and 40–0 margins, respectively. The final version of the bill included an amendment preserving existing requirements for in-state total loss vehicles to receive a certificate of destruction, thus preventing vehicles that sustain more than 80 percent damage from being sold to unsuspecting buyers.

The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.

“The Internet Crime Complaint Center receives 25,000 complaints on average every month covering all kinds of transactions. Specific to the business of buying and selling salvage vehicles, there is an increasing risk of consumers coming into possession of vehicles with undisclosed flood damage or through unregulated Internet sales fraud. Identity-cloning, title-swapping, and unlicensed dealers posing as private sellers all justify states taking a closer look at safeguards to protect the public in these expensive transactions.”

Alan Smith Senior Fellow
Center on Finance, Insurance and Real Estate Ohio Director The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.