It’s easy to assume that any vehicle purchased at a car dealership would meet state requirements. However, an all-too-common scenario involves buyers being sold automobiles that have illegal tint. You may not realize you’ve been had until you get a ticket, at which time you might then begin wondering whether or not the dealer is responsible. If you are facing this same situation, here’s what you need to know.
Car Dealer Responsibilities
In most states, dealers have a responsibility to ensure that any vehicles they offer for sale comply with local law. This is particularly true when it comes to “add-ons” such as speakers, glass-packed mufflers, and even window film. Those who do not could be assessed a fine, regardless of whether they are a new or used car dealership.
Just because a dealer is fined does not mean that you cannot be held liable as well. A number of jurisdictions have now passed laws that make it possible to fine the owner as well as the dealer if window tint does not meet local specifications.
Proving Liability is Difficult
Just because a car dealership can be held responsible does not mean they will be. The burden of proof is on law enforcement to show that a dealer did indeed sell a vehicle with illegal tint, and that they knowingly and willingly did so. What happens to an automobile once it leaves a sales lot is out of a dealer’s control. As such, proving tint was illegal when it was put for sale is often easier said than done, particularly if it has been some time since a transaction took place.
Take Proactive Measures
Since proving liability is challenging, you should take proactive measures to ensure your vehicle is in compliance. The most important thing you can do is to become familiar with local laws, as this will make it easy for you to spot something that isn’t quite right. Before signing any paperwork, you should also ask for results of any window film testing. Keep in mind that not all shops have testing equipment, in which case you may need to have your film checked by local law enforcement officers.
What Happens if You are Charged?
If you are charged with a violation, your first step should be to contact the car dealership. Let their manager know you have received a ticket, and ask for assistance paying it. Keep in mind that the answer very well could be “no”, in which case you will have to decide whether or not it is worth it to pursue legal action. If the dealership does refuse, ask about the possibility of them removing your old tint for you for free.
The law prohibits dealers from selling vehicles with illegal tint. Even so, that does not mean that every car offered for sale is in compliance with local laws. Do not take anything for granted, but instead use due diligence to ensure you do not inadvertently get stuck with a vehicle you might later be ticketed for.