• matthew

String of Thefts from Dealerships Spawn Calls for Procedural Changes

I have received a number of questions the past two weeks as to whether on whether the requirements on test drives have changed, given the Governor’s Executive Order D 2020-170, extending the ‘Safer at Home and in the Vast, Great Outdoors’ mandates. This executive order renews the Public Health Order 20-28 for another 30 days.

In short, this does not change anything. The premise upon which the Executive Order relies is the now ubiquitous concept of social distancing at 6 feet. Since this premise is enshrined in the Public Health Order, it is considered a legal standard that cannot be modified or contradicted by the regulatory authority invested in the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board or Auto Industry Division.

Thus, when the Auto Industry Division recommends that there be no salesperson in the car during a test drive, that remains the recommendation. The Division advises that if the dealer has the resources, they can send a chase car after the vehicle if not comfortable entrusting it to a consumer’s care.

These, of course, are the circumstances that have led to a small string of vehicle thefts across the metro area and northern Colorado. Thus, in the absence of legal or regulatory reform, CADA is recommending the following:

1) Photocopying a Colorado Driver’s License and proof of insurance. One form of ID should validate the address on the other. If the insurance appears to be fabricated, you could request that the consumer access their insurance card online, ensuring that it comes from a reputable website (i.e., www.geico.com).

2) Request the test driver complete a Borrowed Car Agreement. CADA will be developing a unique Agreement for this purpose. It will be a signed, contractual obligation to govern the use and terms of the possession of the vehicle to provide access to the individual should they fail to return.

3) Use of GPS locators. GPS locators require written disclosure and consent before use. If properly disclosed and agreed upon, test driven vehicles could be outfitted with a GPS tracking device to help the dealer locate a vehicle that is not returned. NOTE: if you elect to go this route, please contact legal counsel before doing so, as there are pitfalls for insufficient notification or lack of consent.

4) Hold collateral. If amenable to the consumer, hold a wallet, or phone as collateral for the possession of the test-driven vehicle. Something, while not of requisite value, would entice the driver to return.

These suggestions are, of course, at the dealer’s discretion based on their own experience with test drives over the past five months. However, we strongly encourage dealers employing any one or more of these methods to apply them in any scenario to avoid the appearance of impropriety. If you have any questions, please contact Matthew Groves at matthew.groves@colorado.auto.

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