V C Section 11614 Unlawful Acts

Unlawful Acts

11614.  No lessor-retailer licensed under this chapter may do any of the following in connection with any activity for which this license is required:

(a) Make or disseminate, or cause to be made or disseminated, before the public in this state, in any newspaper or other publication, or any advertising device, or by oral representation, or in any other manner or means whatever, any statement that is untrue or misleading and that is known, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should be known, to be untrue or misleading; or make or disseminate, or cause to be made or disseminated, any statement as part of a plan or scheme with the intent not to sell any vehicle, or service so advertised, at the price stated therein, or as so advertised.

(b) Advertise, or offer for sale in any manner, any vehicle not actually for sale at the premises of the lessor-retailer or available within a reasonable time to the lessor-retailer at the time of the advertisement or offer.

(c) Fail within 48 hours to give, in writing, notification to withdraw any advertisement of a vehicle that has been sold or withdrawn from sale.

(d) Advertise any specific vehicle for sale without identifying the vehicle by its model, model year, and either its license number or that portion of the vehicle identification number that distinguishes the vehicle from all other vehicles of the same make, model, and model-year. Model-year is not required to be advertised for current model-year vehicles. Year models are no longer current when ensuing year models are available for purchase at retail in California.

(e) Advertise the total price of a vehicle without including all costs to the purchaser at the time of delivery at the lessor-retailer's premises, except sales tax, vehicle registration fees, finance charges, certificate of compliance or noncompliance fees not exceeding thirty-five dollars ($35) pursuant to any statute, and any dealer documentary preparation charge. The dealer documentary charge shall not exceed thirty-five dollars ($35).

(f) (1) Fail to disclose, in an advertisement of a vehicle for sale, that there will be added to the advertised total price, at the time of sale, charges for sales tax, vehicle registration fees, the fee charged by the state for the issuance of any certificate of compliance or noncompliance pursuant to any statute, finance charges, or any dealer documentary preparation charge.

(2) For purposes of paragraph (1), "advertisement" means any advertisement in a newspaper, magazine, direct mail publication, or handbill that is two or more columns in width or one column in width and more than seven inches in length, or on any Web page of a lessor-retailer's Web site that displays the price of a vehicle offered for sale on the Internet, as that term is defined in paragraph (6) of subdivision (e) of Section 17538 of the Business and Professions Code.

(g) Advertise or otherwise represent, or knowingly allow to be advertised or represented on the lessor-retailer's behalf or at the lessor-retailer's place of business, that no downpayment is required in connection with the sale of a vehicle when a downpayment is in fact required and the buyer is advised or induced to finance the downpayment by a loan in addition to any other loan financing the remainder of the purchase price of the vehicle. The terms "no downpayment," "zero down delivers," or similar terms shall not be advertised unless the vehicle will be sold to any qualified purchaser without a prior payment of any kind or trade-in.

(h) Refuse to sell a vehicle to any person at the advertised total price, exclusive of sales tax, vehicle registration fees, finance charges, certificate of compliance or noncompliance pursuant to any statute, and any dealer documentary preparation charge, which charges shall not exceed thirty-five dollars ($35) for the documentary preparation charge and thirty-five dollars ($35) for the certificate of compliance or noncompliance pursuant to any statute, while the vehicle remains unsold or unleased, unless the advertisement states the advertised total price is good only for a specified time and the time has elapsed.

(i) Engage in the business for which the licensee is licensed without having in force and effect a bond required by Section 11612.

(j) Engage in the business for which the lessor-retailer is licensed without at all times maintaining a principal place of business and any branch office location required by this chapter.

(k) Permit the use of the lessor-retailer license, supplies, or books by any other person for the purpose of permitting that person to engage in the sale of vehicles required to be registered under this code, or to permit the use of the lessor-retailer license, supplies, or books to operate a branch office location to be used by any other person, if, in either situation, the licensee has no financial or equitable interest or investment in the vehicles sold by, or the business of, or branch office location used by, the person, or has no interest or investment other than commissions, compensations, fees, or any other thing of value received for the use of the lessor-retailer license, supplies, or books to engage in the sale of vehicles.

(l) Violate any provision of Article 10 (commencing with Section 28050) of Chapter 5 of Division 12.

(m) Represent the dealer documentary preparation charge, or certificate of compliance or noncompliance fee, as a governmental fee.

(n) Advertise free merchandise, gifts, or services provided by a lessor-retailer contingent on the purchase of a vehicle. "Free" includes merchandise or services offered for sale at a price less than the lessor-retailer's cost of the merchandise or services.

(o) Advertise vehicles and related goods or services with the intent not to supply reasonably expectable demand, unless the advertisement discloses a limitation of quantity.

(p) Use the term "rebate" or similar words such as "cash back" in advertising the sale of a vehicle.

(q) Require a person to pay a higher price for a vehicle and related goods or services for receiving advertised credit terms than the cash price the same person would have to pay to purchase the same vehicle and related goods or services. For the purpose of this subdivision, "cash price" has the meaning as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 2981 of the Civil Code.

(r) Misrepresent the authority of a representative or agent to negotiate the final terms of a transaction.

(s) Violate any law prohibiting bait and switch advertising, including, but not limited to, the guides against bait advertising set forth in Part 238 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as those regulations read on January 1, 1988.

(t) Make any untrue or misleading statement indicating that a vehicle is equipped with all the factory installed optional equipment the manufacturer offers, including, but not limited to, a false statement that a vehicle is "fully factory equipped."

(u) Advertise any underselling claim, such as "we have the lowest prices" or "we will beat any dealer's price," unless the lessor-retailer has conducted a recent survey showing that the lessor-retailer sells its vehicles at lower prices than any other licensee in its trade area and maintains records to adequately substantiate the claim. The substantiating records shall be made available to the department upon request.

(v) To display or offer for sale any used vehicle unless there is affixed to the vehicle the Federal Trade Commission's Buyer's Guide as required by Part 455 of Title 16 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

(w) This section shall become operative on July 1, 2001.

Added Sec. 2, Ch. 773, Stats. 2000. Effective July 1, 2001.
Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 947, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003.