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February 17, 2010
The Honorable Yvonne B. Miller
Senate of Virginia
910 Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia23219

 Dear Ms. Chairman:


 As the President of RetireSafe, representing thousands of older Virginians, I urge you to oppose Senate Bill 539 (House Bill 392) which is now pending before the Senate Transportation Committee. This bill would cripple the consumer protection our seniors have counted on for over forty years. We must have disclosure protection from those who would take advantage of our seniors when they buy a used car. Most seniors live on a fixed income. For your older constituents, having the ability to buy a safe and reliable used car is not a luxury, but rather a necessity. The very last thing the Legislature should want to do would be to reduce the protection current law provides for consumers. In this economy, we must have safe and affordable used vehicles to depend on. In its present form, SB 539/HB 392 would destroy the basic disclosure requirements in current law and destroy our safety as well.


SB 539/ HB 392 would allow someone to sell seniors or other consumers an unsafe vehicle without having to disclose that it has significant water-damage, even if the damage totaled nearly $5,000. The devastating effects of water damage to the electrical system and the operation of airbags, for example, could have a major impact on our safety. Water damage to these and other components of a car, may not be readily visible, and does not always result in a large insurance claim, but sooner or later will leave seniors with a severely damaged or even worthless car. That is a financial loss we simply cannot afford.

 On behalf of seniors across the Commonwealth, I ask you to preserve the critical legal protection that current law provides us when we purchase a used car. I urge you to oppose SB 539 and HB 392 at every opportunity when this dangerous legislation comes before you on the Senate Transportation Committee, or on the Senate floor. The older Americans you represent are counting on your assistance, because their safety is at stake. Thank you in advance for any help you can provide to stop this obvious attempt to put seniors and other consumers at risk.


Thair Phillips
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