"I started selling cars on this lot 40 years ago, and there wasn't any rules then," recalled car dealer Steve Landers.Nowadays, Landers and other dealers follow a lot of rules, but even he's surprised at what some call a gaping hole in the used car laws. All used vehicles have a history that Landers expects to know about before he buys or sells them to anyone"The public has to tell us when they sell us a car that's totaled, so they should know when they buy a car that's totaled," argued Landers. However, in Arkansas that's not always the case. A car with more than 70 percent damage that most people would consider a total loss can actually be given a clean title if it's more than seven-years-old. "These vehicles can be sold at auction with a clean title, and are subsequently cosmetically repaired and sold to unsuspecting consumers," explained Rep. Terry Rice to a House committee.Representative Rice wanted to remove that seven year limit forcing all totaled vehicles with more than 70 percent damage to bear a salvage title. Every lawmaker in the committee seemed to be behind that part of the bill, but eight disagreed with the second part."There's a red herring in this bill, and it's section two," stated Rep. Darrin Williams.Section two would limit non-dealers to purchasing only two 70 percent salvage cars a year. Some lawmakers said the real purpose of the bill is to eliminate out of state and international competition because they wouldn't have an Arkansas dealer license."I would suggest to you this is really, really not at all about consumer protection," said Williams.Landers said Williams and others have it wrong. He's not afraid of competition, he said. He just wants to make sure the vehicles he buys and sells are safe for consumers. "Make the dealers that want to do this become dealers. Don't let them do two or three a year as a hobby because it's not a hobby. This is a full time business," said Landers.The bill needed 11 votes to pass. It only received eight.
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