The Business Council of New York State, the state’s leading statewide business and industry association representing over 2,400 member companies, opposes this legislation that would amend the general business law to expand the state’s lemon law to commercial vehicles sold in New York State.
New York State currently has some of the most protective consumer safety laws in the nation. These “lemon laws” protect consumers by granting protection above and beyond manufacturers’ expressed warranties. However, commercial vehicles have been rightly excluded from these laws for a variety of very important reasons.
Commercial vehicles are routinely handled differently than automobiles purchased and used by the average consumer. Commercial vehicles are often modified or subject to customization and are not in-line with specifications intended by manufacturers. Likewise, these same commercial vehicles are treated and operated differently than comparable automobiles while being operated as commercial vehicles. These differences often include longer idling and run times, harder wear and tear associated with commercial and industrial activities, and additional strain caused by a constant change in purposing such as leasing and renting. These vehicles also often have multiple drivers and are often part of large fleets that are not always subject to the same care and upkeep as individually owned passenger vehicles. Commercial vehicles are often subject to significantly more rigorous duty cycles and operators not interested in maintenance since they fleet vehicles not personal vehicles.
The bottom line is that commercial vehicles are subject to numerous conditions that make them a separate category different from the autos covered under state-sponsored warranty laws designed to protect the average consumer purchasing a passenger vehicle. Additionally, this is why light duty truck and passenger cars differ than those designed, tested and sold as commercial class vehicles. Even New York State tax law treats the depreciation of commercial vehicles differently that those operated for business purposes. The best comparison probably lay in the differences between a passenger car used by a single owner for personal transportation versus a fleet car used by hundreds of different drivers, in multiple jurisdictions, for multiple purposes. The obvious differences are why New York State has not subjected commercial vehicles to further state law warranties.
For the above reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation.