A bill passed by the New Jersey state legislature will require dealerships to reset vehicle data to protect the privacy of owners who sold their vehicles to them or returned them after a lease.

The bill will seek to protect former owners from sharing information stored on their vehicles’ computers with customers who buy them used from dealerships. It would impose penalties of $500 the first time a dealership fails to wipe a vehicle’s data and $1,000 for multiple violations, according to New Jersey 101.5.

The bill was unanimously introduced by the Assembly’s Consumer Affairs Committee, but it has yet to be passed by the assembly for a vote. Instead, it was sent to the Assembly’s Science, Innovation and Technology Committee to await another hearing.

Read: New Jersey Bill wants to get rid of most car subscriptions

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

The issue is of particular concern as automakers increasingly focus on technology and offer digital convenience services for customers, such as maps, telephony, etc. The data that powers these features can compromise owners’ privacy.

“I salvaged cars that still had other people’s phone books in them,” said Assemblyman Kevin Rooney, R-Bergen.

The possibility of actually erasing data is not the only issue that dealers are interested in, however. Appleton also says dealerships should be able to charge customers for the service of erasing their data.

“Asking the dealer to perform service on this vehicle without compensation from the funding source would be unfair,” Appleton said. “Allowing dealerships to charge a reasonable fee for the service when they take the vehicle in for trade-in, and also imposing a requirement to remove the person’s information from the leasing or finance company when the vehicle is a rental return.”


Opening of Toyota Innova Hycross reservations at selected dealerships


KPIs to measure that keep dealership inventory on track

Check Also