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AB-2656 Vehicle towing and storage.(2017-2018)

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Date Published: 08/22/2018 09:00 PM
AB2656:v96#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  August 22, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  August 16, 2018
Passed  IN  Assembly  August 20, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  June 13, 2018
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 22, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2656


Introduced by Assembly Member Chen

February 15, 2018


An act to amend Section 22651.1 of the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2656, Chen. Vehicle towing and storage.
Existing law authorizes the impoundment and storage of vehicles under a variety of circumstances, including, among others, when the vehicle has been issued 5 or more notices of parking violations to which the owner or person in control of the vehicle has not responded, as specified. Existing law establishes procedures for the release of a vehicle so impounded and stored, and generally requires payment of penalties and towing and storage fees, as applicable, for the release of the vehicle. Existing law requires a person operating or in charge of a storage facility where vehicles are stored pursuant to those provisions to accept a valid bank credit card or cash for payment of towing and storage fees by the registered owner, legal owner, or owner’s agent in connection with release of the vehicle. Existing law makes the facility civilly liable, as specified, for refusing to accept a valid credit card. A violation of these provisions is also a crime.
This bill would require the person at the storage facility to accept any valid bank credit card, debit card, cash, or any combination of those for payment of towing and storage fees from the registered or legal owner of the vehicle, the agent of the registered or legal owner, or a licensed repossessor. The bill would provide that the credit or debit card need not be in the name of the person who has received a vehicle release. The bill would require that, if a storage facility’s credit card or debit card machine is inoperable or if the transaction cannot be completed for a reason other than the denial of the card, the storage facility call its merchant processing center to process the transaction. The bill would require that, if a customer’s credit card or debit card is declined, the storage facility make its telephone available for the customer to call his or her credit card or debit card company. The bill would make the facility civilly liable for refusing or willfully failing to accept a valid credit or debit card. The bill would make additional conforming changes. By expanding the scope of an existing crime, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 22651.1 of the Vehicle Code is amended to read:

22651.1.
 (a) A person operating or in charge of any storage facility where vehicles are stored pursuant to Section 22651 shall accept any valid bank credit card, debit card, cash, or any combination of those payments as decided by the person presenting the card or cash, for payment of towing and storage by the registered owner, legal owner, the agent of the registered or legal owner, or the licensed repossessor claiming the vehicle. A credit or debit card shall be in the name of the person or business entity presenting the card, and does not have to be in the name of the person who has received a vehicle release.
(b) “Credit card” means “credit card” as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 1747.02 of the Civil Code, and “debit card” means “debit card” as defined in subdivision (d) of Section 1748.30 of the Civil Code, except, for the purposes of this section, credit card and debit card do not include a credit card or debit card issued by a retail seller.
(c) A person operating or in charge of any storage facility who refuses or willfully fails to accept a valid bank credit or debit card shall be liable to the owner of the vehicle or to the person who tendered the fees for four times the amount of the towing and storage charges, but not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500). In addition, persons operating or in charge of the storage facility shall have sufficient funds on the premises to accommodate and make change in a reasonable monetary transaction.
(d) If a storage facility’s credit card or debit card machine is inoperable or if the transaction cannot be completed for a reason other than the denial of the card, the storage facility shall call its merchant processing center to process the transaction. If a customer’s credit card or debit card is declined, the storage facility shall make its telephone available for the customer to call his or her credit card or debit card company.
(e) Credit charges for towing and storage services shall comply with Section 1748.1 of the Civil Code. Law enforcement agencies may include the costs of providing for payment by credit when agreeing with a towing or storage provider on rates.

SEC. 2.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.