Judge Puts Part of "Auto Dealers' Bill of Rights" on Hold

Sep 23, 2013

An expanded “Auto Dealer Bill of Rights” law is set to take effect today.  It offers auto and equipment dealers protections from some requirements set by manufacturers.  But a key part of the law is now on hold.

Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Philip Mangones issued a preliminary injunction against the law going into effect for some farm and construction equipment dealers.  The Concord Monitor reports John Deere, AGCO Corporation, and CNH filed a lawsuit arguing it violates both state and federal constitutions.  They said both prohibit passing laws which retroactively alter contracts.  But Ted Frost, who owns Frost Farm Service in Greenville, says that’s not a fair characterization.

“They call it a contract, but it’s not.  It’s a dealer agreement.  They bring up this dealer agreement, they hand it to us, there’s no negotiations in it," Frost says.  "We either sign that agreement, or else we aren’t a dealer.”

The Auto Dealer Bill of Rights addresses how much dealers get reimbursed for warranty work and how often manufacturers can require them to remodel their facilities.  Mangones issued the injunction Thursday, but only for John Deere, AGCO and CNH dealers.  Then he moved the lawsuit to the Merrimack County Superior Court to make the final ruling.