California A.B. 1215

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On September 26, 2011, California Governor Jerry Brown signed California Law AB 1215 into law.[1] Authored by Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), the legislation accomplishes three goals: (1) increases the fees that California car and truck dealers can charge for licensing, (2) requires dealers to use Electronic Titling (ELT) and (3) governs how automobile dealers disclose previously damaged used cars. The law went into effect on July 1, 2012.

Proponents of AB 1215 included the California New Car Dealer Association, the Independent Auto Dealers Association of California, Consumers for Auto Reliability & Safety and California Associates of Highway Patrol. California is often a leader in consumer protection legislation and consumer advocates hope the law will lead to a similar federal program.[2] The bill passed the California State Assembly 67-4 and the California State Senate 30-4 before being signed by Governor Brown.

Once AB 1215 goes into effect, car and truck dealers in California will be able to charge up to $80 per new or used purchase/leased vehicle transaction. This is up from $55 for vehicle purchase transactions and $45 for lease transactions. Documentation fees cover titling, registration and other dealership documentation requirements. Lawmakers estimate the legislation will save taxpayers as much as $9 million per year by using electronic titling systems.[3]

AB 1215 also includes a mandate for dealers to participate in the California DMV's Business Partner Automation Program(BPA). The BPA program enables fast and easy title and registration processes, saving the state time and labor costs and dealers/consumers needless time and paper forms at the Department of Motor Vehicles.

And because of CA AB 1215, starting on July 1, 2012, California new and used car and truck dealers will have to check a National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) report before selling any used vehicle. NMVTIS vehicle history check information contains the most up-to-date DMV title information from participating states, along with the industry’s most complete salvage auction, junkyard and insurance company sourced total loss information.

If the NMVTIS report shows a previous salvage or other state title brand or reported event such as Insurance Total Loss then it must be disclosed to consumers. Each vehicle with salvage title brands or other problem is required to have a red 4” x 5” sticker with language warning potential buyers that the vehicle has this kind of salvage history. California dealers, along with national and state consumer protection groups, supported the AB 1215 bill.[4]

California dealers will now be required to title check by VIN all used vehicles using a sanctioned NMVTIS Consumer Access Provider. The dealer must disclose whether the auto has had previous salvage or damage history. Vehicles with this kind of salvage title history will be required to have the 4” x 5” red window sticker with language. The dealer must also provide a copy of the NMVTIS-based car history report to the buyer. Only official NMVTIS Access Providers are able to be used to comply with California AB 1215. A complete list of NMVTIS Consumer Access Providers is available on the NMVTIS Web site,


  1. ^ Blumenfield, Robert. "California AB 1215". California Assembly Bill. California Legislature. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  2. ^ "New Law Puts Warning Stickers on Lemons, But Leaves Some Seeing Red". Rosner, Barry & Babbitt. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Jones, Aaron (27 March 2013). "AB 1215 Is Signed Into Law". Canyon News. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  4. ^ Jensen, Christopher (28 September 2011). "In California, a New Lemon Law to Protect Used-Car Shoppers". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2013. 

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