New bill aims to help car owners when their vehicle is repossessed

ALBANY — Senator Jim Tedisco announced Saturday that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed into law legislation he prime sponsored and passed (S.5369/A.9617) to help consumers, small business owners and local county governments by extending the time frame in which a car owner has to submit their license plates to the Department of Motor Vehicles from 24 hours to 10 days when their car is repossessed, according to a news release from the state senator’s office.

“This new law is a win, win, win for car owners, small businesses and local governments by extending to 10 days the time motorists have to return their license plates to the DMV if their car is ever repossessed,” said Tedisco in a news release. “Consumers won’t have to pay to re-register their car during those 10 days and this bill will save tax dollars on paperwork and time spent by county DMV offices re-registering people and small businesses in processing repossessions.”

Under current law, motorists have 24 hours to turn their plates into the DMV but 10 days to pay creditors what they owe to get back ownership on a vehicle. This creates an additional bureaucratic burden for consumers who after they pay the outstanding balance on their car must then find transportation to a DMV office to pay for the re-registration on their vehicle. Depending on the weight of one’s vehicle, passage of this law could save consumers between $26 and $71 in re-registration fees.

The new law, which takes effect immediately, makes it more efficient for local county-run DMV offices since they would only have to process those returned plates for vehicles after the 10-day waiting period that will not be returned to their owners. The law also will help small businesses that handle the repossession of cars save time and money from not having to rush to turn plates into the DMV within 24 hours and instead lets the 10-day waiting period pass before taking action.

The measure also enhances efficiencies by enabling repossessing agencies to notify vehicle owners via email and text message in addition to first class mail and through a phone call.

The bill was sponsored in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, and Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh, R,C,I,REF-Ballston.