April 9, 2019

Contact: Sen. Cowles: (608) 266-0484 / Rep. Steffen: (608) 266-5840

Bill to Address Fraudulent Auto Sales Passes Legislature

MADISON– Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) and Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay) released the following statement after 2019 Senate Bill 3, which was authored by Senator Cowles and Representative David Steffen (R-Green Bay), passed the Senate and the Assembly on a voice vote during today’s floor sessions: 

Senator Cowles stated, “From 2014 to 2016, dozens of vehicles on consignment at the car dealership Standard Pre-Owned were sold despite the original vehicle owner not being notified or receiving compensation. While complaints flooded into DOT, more Northeast Wisconsin residents found themselves defrauded by Standard Pre-Owned as the lengthy and tedious process of license revocation failed to protect Wisconsinites in these consignment sales.”

Senator Cowles continued, “Senate Bill 3 acknowledges that consumers shouldn’t have to expect to be defrauded during vehicle sales or purchases. By simplifying the licensure review process, we provide DOT the ability to better protect Wisconsinites from fraudulent activity. While we may not be able to stop every case of fraud, these changes will help to give Wisconsinites a better piece of mind during automotive transactions.”

Representative Steffen added, “This is common-sense legislation that reforms and simplifies our dealer license revocation system in order to better protect our constituents. I am happy to see this pass with wide bipartisan support in both houses.”

2019 Senate Bill 3 simplifies the process for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to deny, suspend, or revoke certain licenses issued to motor vehicle manufacturers, importers, distributors, and dealers to better allow DOT to adequately address the most severe cases of fraud. Senate Bill 3 also establishes guidelines on what types of fraud could constitute a license denial, suspension, or revocation and provides for an appeals process. This legislation was drafted by Senator Cowles and Representative Steffen following a series of fraudulent auto sales at the Kaukauna and Suamico car dealership Standard Pre-Owned for the purpose of preventing fraud in future automotive transactions.