senate Bill S900

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

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 05 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO CONSUMER PROTECTION

Summary

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.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S900
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Consumer Protection
Law Section:
General Business Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §396-p, add §198-d, Gen Bus L; amd §337, Pers Prop L
Versions Introduced in 2009-2010 Legislative Cycle:
S1545

Sponsor 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.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   900

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (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

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00046-01-1

S. 900                              2

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. 900                              3

  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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