Automobiles

Abandoned Vehicles on Private Property

C.R.S. 42-4-2102(1). An abandoned motor vehicle is defined as:

  • Any motor vehicle left unattended on private property for a period of 24 hours, or longer or for such other period as may be established by local ordinance, without the consent of the owner or lessee of such property or the owner’s or lessee’s legally authorized agent.
  • Any motor vehicle stored in an impound lot at the request of its owner or the owner’s agent and not removed from the impound lot according to the agreement with the owner or agent.
  • Any motor vehicle that is left on private property without the property owner’s consent, towed at the request of the property owner, and not removed from the impound lot by the vehicle owner within 48 hours.

Property owners should contact their local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the private property where the motor vehicle has been abandoned.

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Air Bags

It is a criminal offense to install or reinstall a false air bag in place of a real one. See C.R.S. 6-1-710. This falls under the Consumer Protection Act, so complaints about this can be referred to the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office.

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Automobile - General

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214
Phone: See various numbers listed below depending on type of issue.

All locations are at the 1881 Pierce Street address: 

DepartmentRoomPhone
Administration 100 (303) 205-5600
Driver Services 164 (303) 205-5613
Drivers License Administration 136 (303) 205-5646
Emissions 128 (303) 205-5603
Motor Vehicle Investigations 134 (303) 205-8383
Motor Vehicle Hearings 106 (303) 205-5606
Motor Vehicle Registrations 144 (303) 205-5607
Motor Vehicle Titles 146 (303) 205-5608

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Automobile Arbitration

Council of Better Business Bureaus Auto Line
Phone: 1-800-955-5100

This is part of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, which handles many of the arbitration programs set up under Colorado's lemon law. Following is a list of manufacturers that use this service:

  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Buick
  • Cadillac
  • Chevrolet
  • Daewoo
  • Ford
  • GM (any)
  • GMC Truck
  • Honda/Acura
  • Hummer/AM General
  • Hyundai
  • Infiniti
  • Isuzu
  • Jaguar
  • Kia
  • Land Rover
  • Lexus
  • Lotus
  • Mazda
  • Mercedes
  • Mitsubishi
  • Nissan
  • Oldsmobile
  • Pontiac
  • Porsche
  • Rolls Royce
  • Saab
  • Saturn
  • SMC
  • Subaru
  • Suzuki
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo
  • Winnebago
  • Workhorse

Chrysler has its own arbitration services set in place and Toyota goes through American Arbitration Association (see “Arbitration” in this Resource Guide). Owner’s manuals should have the appropriate contact listed for the vehicle.

Auto Line does not handle disputes between consumers and dealerships, repair facilities, insurance companies, or problems other than manufacturing defects.

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Automobile Rental Contracts

Rental car companies are required to give to persons renting cars written disclosures of the terms and provisions of any collision damage waiver sold as part of the rental contract. See C.R.S. 6-1-201 through 6-1-205. This falls under the Consumer Protection Act, so complaints about this can be referred to the Consumer Protection Section of the Attorney General’s Office. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Automobile Repairs

Many consumers feel most vulnerable when dealing with the inevitable need to take their car to a mechanic, whether it is for minor service or major repairs. The Motor Vehicle Repair Act, C.R.S., 42-9-101 to 113, was adopted in order to provide consumers with some control over what can easily become a major expenditure. Under that Act:

  • Repair garages must obtain a consumer’s written consent to any repairs, before those repairs are performed.
  • A repair garage must provide a written or oral estimate of all costs associated with a particular repair.
  • A repair garage may not collect any charge for labor or parts in excess of the estimate plus ten percent of that estimate or twenty-five dollars, whichever is less, without the consent of the consumer.

Consumers may have private remedies under the Act, including treble damages and costs and attorney fees. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Automobile Safety

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Region 8 Office
12300 West Dakota Ave., SUite 140
Lakewood, CO 80228-2583
Phone: (720) 963-3100
Fax: (720) 963-3124
E-mail: RockyMountainRegion@dot.gov

Colorado Department of Transportation
Office of Transportation Safety
4201 E. Arkansas Ave.
Denver, CO 80222
Phone: (303) 757-9381

Center for Auto Safety
1825 Connecticut Ave., NW
Suite 330
Washington, DC 20009
Phone: (202) 328-7700

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Automobile Sales - New

Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214
Dealer Board: (303) 205-5696
Dealer/Salesperson Licensing: (303) 205-5604
Dealer Compliance: (303) 205-5746
Dealer Investigation: (303) 205-5746
FAX: (303) 205-5977
Colorado Springs Dealer Compliance: (719) 594-8704
Colorado Springs Dealer Investigation: (719) 594-8711
Ft. Collins Dealer Investigation: (970) 494-9807
Ft. Collins Fax: (970) 494-9800
Grand Junction Dealer Investigation: (970) 248-7011
Grand Junction Fax: (970) 248-7139
Email: dealers@spike.dor.state.co.us

Consumers with complaints about new car purchases from auto dealerships can be referred to the Colorado Motor Vehicle Dealer Board.

General information about the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board

This is the administrative arm in the licensing and regulation of motor vehicles, dealers, used dealers, wholesalers, wholesale auto auctions, and sales persons for the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board. Activities include the processing of license applications and fees, administering written exams to applicants, providing educational services to licensees and the public, conducting compliance audits, working with consumers and dealers to resolve complaints and investigating criminal complaints.

Complaint filing process

Before filing a complaint against a dealership, you need to contact the dealership and provide the information concerning the problem. If the general manager or owner does not satisfactorily resolve the problem, a complaint may be filed through the Auto Industry Division of the Department of Revenue. Information on filing a complaint with the Division is available at http://www.colorado.gov/revenue/AID.

No Right to Cancel on new car purchases

There is no three-day right to cancel on a car purchase.

If a consumer signs a contract to purchase a vehicle, he or she has bought the car. The only way out of it is if there is a failure to perform on one of the contract items - for instance, delivery date not adhered to; financing contingent upon co-signer did not come through; car not as described, etc.

Before dealing with a new car dealer, consumers might want to consult www.edmunds.com to find out what to pay for a car and "blue books" to find out what the new car and their trade-in is worth.

If someone cancels or backs out of a deal, the dealer may or may not hold them accountable for the entire amount -- it is up to the dealer. But if they allow the contract to be voided, the dealer can only keep $500.00 of the consumer's deposit, unless a greater loss to the dealership can be substantiated.

Colorado Lemon Law

The Colorado Lemon Law may require a manufacturer of a new car to replace that car or to repurchase that car if a defect or condition that substantially impairs the use and market value of the car cannot be corrected.

Colorado's Lemon Law, C.R.S. 42-10-101 through 42-10-107, covers only new self- propelled vehicles, including pickups and vans, but does not cover motor homes and motorcycles. It is unclear whether Colorado’s Lemon Law applies to leased vehicles.

To qualify for relief under the Lemon Law, the vehicle must have been in for repair four or more times for the same defect; or the vehicle is out of service for a cumulative total of 30 or more business days during the warranty term or one year after purchase, whichever comes first.

Complaint filing process for Lemon Law

To initiate the Lemon Law process, consumers must first notify the manufacturer by certified mail of the problem after their car has met the criteria outlined in the previous paragraph. (Consult your owner's manual to find out where to write).

Consumers then participate in an informal dispute settlement procedure if the manufacturer offers it.

If the settlement offered through the dispute settlement procedure is unsatisfactory to the consumer, he/she can file suit. The suit must be filed within six months following the expiration date of any warranty term or within one year following the date of the original delivery of a motor vehicle to a consumer, whichever is the earlier date.

If a manufacturer has established or participates in an informal dispute resolution procedure (for example, through the Better Business Bureau), you must pursue that remedy before you can sue. For information about the BBB’s Auto Line, call 1-800-955-5100. Also see information on automobile arbitration offered through the Better Business Bureau’s Auto Line, which can be accessed at http://www.bbb.org/us/auto-line-lemon-law/.

Ford Dispute Settlement Board (formerly Ford Consumer Appeals Board)
P.O. Box 5120
Southfield, MI 48086-5120
Phone: 1-800-428-3718

Consumers owning Fords, who wish to pursue their rights under Colorado's Lemon Law, must call this number and request that forms be sent to them to start the dispute settlement process.

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Automobile Sales - Used

Motor Vehicle Dealer Board
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214
Dealer Board: (303) 205-5696
Dealer / Salesperson Licensing: (303) 205-5604
Dealer Compliance: (303) 205-5746
Dealer Investigation: (303) 205-5746
FAX: (303) 205-5977
Colorado Springs Dealer Compliance: (719) 594-8704
Colorado Springs Dealer Investigation: (719) 594-8711
Ft. Collins Dealer Investigation: (970) 494-9807
Ft. Collins Fax: (970) 494-9800
Grand Junction Dealer Investigation: (970) 248-7011
Grand Junction Fax: (970) 248-7139
Email: dealers@spike.dor.state.co.us

If a consumer has a complaint about a purchase of a used car from a dealer, the consumer should contact the Motor Vehicle Dealer Board. If the consumer purchased a used car from a private party, their only recourse is small claims court if the amount of the car is $7,500.00 or less. If the amount paid is over this amount, they can utilize county or district court.

Remember - used cars are generally sold “as is” which means the consumer inherits whatever problems come with the car. Used cars need to be checked out thoroughly by an independent mechanic before buying.

Complaint filing process

Before filing a complaint against a dealership, you need to contact the dealership and provide the information concerning the problem. If the general manager or owner does not satisfactorily resolve the problem, a complaint may be filed through the Auto Industry Division of the Department of Revenue. Information on filing a complaint with the Division is available at http://www.colorado.gov/revenue/AID.

If there is a strong verbal misrepresentation, which is also very specific, i.e., "The engine has just been rebuilt," when it has not, the consumer has a chance of recovering his or her money in civil court under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, C.R.S., 6-1-101 et seq.

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Automobile Sales and Leases - General

A list of deceptive trade practices with respect to the sale or lease of a new or used motor vehicle is found under the Colorado Consumer Protection Act, C.R.S. 6-1-708. These include:

  • Representing to a consumer that they have been approved for a consumer credit transaction if such approval is not final;
  • Accepting a trade-in vehicle before the purchaser has been approved for a consumer credit transaction;
  • Failing to return a consumer’s down payment if financing is not approved, and;
  • Failing to disclose that a vehicle is a salvage vehicle.

Misrepresentations about auto sales and leases, or false advertising claims can fall under the Consumer Protection Act. To file a consumer complaint either call 1-800-222-4444 or use our online consumer complaint form.

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Emissions

Division of Motor Vehicles
Emissions Section
1881 Pierce Street, Room 128
Lakewood, CO 80214
Phone: (303) 205-5603
Fax: (303) 205-5980

Information on Colorado motor vehicle emission requirements is available online at: http://www.colorado.gov/revenue/dmv. This is an excellent resource for resolving emissions complaints – particularly when there is a question concerning a potential fraudulent representation regarding a vehicle that does not pass emissions or requires extensive repairs. In the Denver area, information is available at: http://www.aircarecolorado.com.

After July 1987, any vehicle must have all the original emissions equipment at the time of sale and it is the responsibility of the seller to provide the buyer with proof.

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Gas Pricing

No state or federal agency regulates the prices charged by gasoline refiners, wholesalers, or retailers. Prices are established in each local marketplace by each competitor independently and without agreement with a competitor. However, similarity of prices in a local marketplace is NOT, by itself, evidence of a conspiracy since competitor’s prices are publicly disclosed. However, if you have direct evidence that local competitors are actually agreeing on prices, you can contact:

Office of the Attorney General
Antitrust Unit
1525 Sherman Street, 7th Floor
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 1-800-222-4444
Fax: (720) 508-6040

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Gas Pump Inspection

Colorado Department of Labor
Division of Oil and Public Safety
Oil Inspectors Section
633 17th Street, Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202-3660
Phone: (303) 318-8500 press 3 for consumer complaint
 
Select "Click here to contact Oil and Public Safety" on left side

This agency handles complaints regarding gas pumps that appear to be reading inappropriate amounts, as well as certain pricing issues and measurement issues. They also deal with contamination caused by leaking petroleum storage tanks and prevention of releases from all regulated storage tanks. The Division also administers the Petroleum Storage Tank Fund.

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Motor Vehicles

See “Automobiles – General” in this Resource Guide.

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Salvage Vehicles

In Colorado, a “salvage vehicle” is any vehicle that is damaged by collision, fire, flood, accident, trespass, or other occurrence, excluding hail damage, to the extent that the cost of repairing the vehicle to a roadworthy condition and for legal operation on the highways exceeds the vehicle's retail fair market value immediately prior to such damage. In assessing whether a vehicle is a salvage vehicle, the retail fair market value is determined by reference to sources generally accepted within the insurance industry including price guide books, dealer quotations, computerized valuation services, newspaper advertisements, and certified appraisals, taking into account the condition of the vehicle prior to the damage. When assessing the repairs, the assessor shall consider the actual retail cost of the needed parts and the reasonable and customary labor rates for needed labor.

If you sell a motor vehicle that has been rebuilt from salvage you must, prior to transferring such vehicle, prepare a disclosure affidavit stating that the vehicle was rebuilt from salvage. The disclosure affidavit must also contain a statement as to the nature of the damage that resulted in the determination that the vehicle is a salvage vehicle. The words "rebuilt from salvage" must appear in bold print at the top of each such affidavit. That affidavit must be provided to the purchaser and you must obtain the purchaser’s signature clearly stating that the purchaser has received a copy of the disclosure affidavit and has read and understands the provisions contained therein.

You may be guilty of a misdemeanor if you fail to provide this disclosure affidavit. Moreover, any person who purchases a vehicle rebuilt from salvage who was not provided with a copy of this disclosure affidavit and who, subsequent to sale, discovers that the vehicle purchased was rebuilt from salvage shall be entitled to a full and immediate refund of the purchase price from the prior owner.

If you purchase a motor vehicle that has become a salvage vehicle, you are required to apply with the Colorado Motor Vehicle Division for a “salvage certificate of title.” As part of that application you will be required to include disclosure of the type of damage (excluding hail damage) resulting in salvage. In the case of an application for salvage title due to vehicle abandonment at a repair shop, the application must denote that the reason for salvage is “vehicle abandoned at a repair shop”. The reissued certificate of title will then be permanently branded with the designation "REBUILT FROM SALVAGE." You can contact:

Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles
Motor Vehicle Titles, Room 146
1881 Pierce Street
Lakewood, CO 80214
Phone: (303) 205-5608
Website: http://www.revenue.state.co.us/mv_dir/home.asp

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