NJ Bill Wants Dealers To Clear Previous Owners’ Personal Data On Used Cars


A bill passing through the New Jersey state Legislature will require dealers to reset vehicle data in order to protect the privacy of owners who either sold their vehicles to them or turned them in after a lease.

The bill will seek to help protect former owners from having the information stored on their vehicles’ computers shared with customers buying them second-hand from dealerships. It would impose penalties of $500 the first time a dealer fails to clear a vehicle’s data, and $1,000 for multiple offenses, according to New Jersey 101.5.

The bill was advanced unanimously by the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee, but it has not yet been passed to the assembly floor for a vote. Instead, it has been sent to the Assembly Science, Innovation and Technology Committee to await another hearing.

Read: New Jersey Bill Wants To Get Rid Of Most In-Car Subscriptions

Indeed, the feasibility of such a bill is of concern to industry experts. Jim Appleton, the president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, claimed that clearing all the data from all used vehicles that pass through dealerships is easier said than done, depending on the automaker.

The issue is of particular concern as automaker become increasingly focused on tech and delivering digital customer convenience services, such as maps, telephony, and more. The data that powers those features can leave owners’ privacy compromised.

“I’ve gotten cars back that had other people’s phone books still there,” said Assemblyman Kevin Rooney, R-Bergen.

The feasibility of actually clearing the data, though, isn’t the only issue of interest to dealers. Appleton also says that dealers should be able to charge clients for the service of clearing their data.

“Requiring the dealer to perform service on that vehicle without compensation from the finance source would be unfair,” Appleton said. “Permit dealers to charge a reasonable fee for the service when they’re taking the vehicle in trade, and to also impose the obligation to delete person information on the leasing or finance company when the vehicle is a lease return.”


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