2020 Wyoming Statutes
Title 31 - Motor Vehicles
Chapter 16 - Motor Vehicle Franchises
Section 31-16-108 - Unlawful Acts.

Universal Citation: WY Stat § 31-16-108 (2020)

31-16-108. Unlawful acts.

(a) No vehicle dealer or other person required to be licensed under this act, or any salesperson or agent shall:

(i) Knowingly publish or circulate any misleading or inaccurate advertisement which misrepresents any of the products sold or furnished by a licensed dealer or use any false or misleading advertisement in the conduct of its business;

(ii) Violate this act or any of the rules and regulations promulgated under it;

(iii) Knowingly purchase, sell, acquire or dispose of a stolen vehicle;

(iv) Violate any law of this state respecting commerce in vehicles or any state agency rule or regulation;

(v) Engage in the business for which a dealer is licensed without maintaining a principal place of business as required by this act;

(vi) Engage in a type of business respecting the sale or exchange of new or new and used vehicles for which he is not licensed;

(vii) Knowingly purchase a vehicle which has an altered or removed vehicle identification number or to alter or remove a vehicle identification number plate;

(viii) Repealed by Laws 1997, ch. 154, § 3.

(ix) Violate any provision of the federal motor vehicle safety standards;

(x) Display for sale, exchange or sell any new motor vehicle for which the vehicle dealer does not hold a valid franchise;

(xi) Import, display for sale, exchange, or sell, any new vehicle, or any used vehicle originally sold by a manufacturer for distribution outside the United States unless the vehicle is in compliance with all federal regulations governing vehicles that were manufactured for distribution outside the United States and subsequently imported into the United States. Any dealer required to be licensed under this act shall maintain records in his principal place of business necessary to verify compliance with this provision if requested by the department or any law enforcement officer;

(xii) Advertise, display, demonstrate, exchange or sell any vehicle with less than one thousand (1,000) miles on the odometer, unless the person is a properly licensed dealer, or the person has obtained a valid Wyoming title in his name or business name and has paid the applicable sales or use tax on the vehicle in his name before advertising, displaying, demonstrating, exchanging or selling the vehicle.

(b) No manufacturer licensed under this act shall require or coerce or attempt to require or coerce any new vehicle dealer in this state:

(i) To order or accept delivery of any new vehicle, vehicle part or accessory, equipment or any other commodity not required by law which the new vehicle dealer has not voluntarily ordered. This paragraph does not modify or supersede any terms or provisions of the franchise requiring new vehicle dealers to market a representative line of the vehicles covered by the franchise, to promote the sale, leasing and rental of the vehicles and to carry a reasonable inventory of models offered for sale by the manufacturer;

(ii) To order or accept delivery of any new vehicle with special features, accessories or equipment not included in the list price of those vehicles as publicly advertised by the manufacturer or distributor unless they are required by law;

(iii) To participate monetarily in an advertising campaign or contest or to purchase any promotional materials, training materials, showroom or other display decorations or materials at the expense of the new vehicle dealer. This paragraph does not modify any provisions of the franchise requiring the dealer to advertise and promote the sale of vehicles covered by the franchise and does not apply to campaigns, contests, advertising and other promotional programs in which the dealer voluntarily participates;

(iv) To enter into any agreement with the manufacturer or to prejudice the new vehicle dealer by threatening to terminate or cancel a franchise or any contractual agreement existing between the dealer and the manufacturer. This paragraph does not preclude the manufacturer or distributor from insisting on compliance with the reasonable terms or provisions of the franchise or other contractual agreement. Notice in good faith from a manufacturer or distributor to any new vehicle dealer of the new vehicle dealer's violation of those terms or provisions does not constitute a violation of this act;

(v) To change the capital structure of the new vehicle dealer or the new vehicle dealer's financing means if the new vehicle dealer meets any reasonable capital standards determined by the manufacturer in accordance with uniformly applied criteria. A new vehicle dealer may change its capital structure in accordance with reasonable capital standards if the change does not change the principal management or ownership in whole or in part or result in the sale of the franchise. If a change in capital structure results in a sale of the franchise, the manufacturer or distributor may not unreasonably withhold any necessary consent to the change;

(vi) To refrain from participation in the management of, investment in or the acquisition of any other line of new vehicle or related products. This paragraph does not apply unless the new vehicle dealer maintains a reasonable line of credit for each make or line of new vehicle, the new vehicle dealer remains in compliance with any reasonable facilities and other franchise requirements of the manufacturer and no change is made in the principal management of the new vehicle dealer;

(vii) To prospectively agree to relieve any person from liability imposed by this law or to require any controversy between a new vehicle dealer and a manufacturer, distributor or their representatives, to be referred to any person other than the duly constituted courts of the state or the United States, or to the director if the referral would be binding upon the new vehicle dealer;

(viii) To establish, after becoming a new vehicle dealer, exclusive facilities, personnel or display space for a line make when such requirements would not be justified by reasonable business considerations;

(ix) To expand facilities without making available a sufficient supply of new vehicles to justify an expansion considering the market and economic conditions;

(x) To modify significantly an existing dealership or to construct a new vehicle dealership facility without a sufficient supply of new vehicles to justify a modification or construction considering the market and economic conditions.

(c) No manufacturer licensed under this act shall:

(i) Delay, refuse or fail to deliver new vehicles or new vehicle parts or accessories in a reasonable time and quantity relative to the new vehicle dealer's facilities and sales potential in the new vehicle dealer's relevant market area after acceptance of an order from a new vehicle dealer having a franchise for the retail sale of any new vehicle sold or distributed by the manufacturer, any new vehicle, parts or accessories to new vehicles as are covered by the franchise, if the vehicle, parts or accessories are publicly advertised as being available for delivery or actually delivered. Failure caused by acts or causes beyond the control of the manufacturer is not a violation of this act;

(ii) Refuse to disclose to any new vehicle dealer handling the same line make the manner and mode of distribution of the line make within the relevant market area;

(iii) Without the consent of the dealer, obtain money, goods, services or other benefit from a person who does business with the new vehicle dealer in relation to the transaction between the new vehicle dealer and the person other than as compensation for services rendered and products provided, unless the benefit is promptly transmitted or credited to the new vehicle dealer;

(iv) Increase prices of new vehicles ordered by the new vehicle dealer for consumers prior to the new vehicle dealer's receipt of the written official price increase notification. A sales contract signed by a consumer is evidence of each order if the vehicle is delivered to the customer. In the event of manufacturer price reductions or cash rebates paid to the new vehicle dealer intended by the manufacturer to be passed on to the consumer, the amount of any reduction or rebate received by a new vehicle dealer passes to the private retail consumer by the new vehicle dealer. Price reductions apply to all unused, undamaged and unsold vehicles in the dealer's inventory which were subject to the price reduction. Price differences applicable to a new model or series are not a price increase or price decrease. Price changes caused by the following are not subject to this paragraph:

(A) The addition to a vehicle of required or optional equipment or a change in the capacity, performance, size, weight or design specifications of a vehicle;

(B) Changes in the rate of exchange of the United States dollar, in the case of foreign-made vehicles or components; and

(C) An increase in transportation charges due to increased rates imposed by a carrier.

(v) Release to any other party, except under subpoena or as otherwise required by law or in an administrative, judicial or arbitration proceeding involving the manufacturer or new vehicle dealer, any business, financial, or personal information which is provided by the new vehicle dealer to the manufacturer without the express written consent of the new vehicle dealer;

(vi) Deny any new vehicle dealer the right of free association with any other new vehicle dealer for any lawful purpose;

(vii) Unfairly compete with a new vehicle dealer in the same line make and operating under an agreement or franchise from the manufacturer in the relevant market area. A manufacturer is not competing when operating a dealership either temporarily for a reasonable period or in a bona fide retail operation which is for sale to any qualified independent person at a fair and reasonable price, or in a bona fide relationship in which an independent person has made a significant investment subject to loss in the dealership and can reasonably expect to acquire full ownership of such dealership on reasonable terms and conditions;

(viii) Unfairly discriminate among its new vehicle dealers with respect to warranty reimbursement;

(ix) Unreasonably withhold consent to the sale, transfer or exchange of the franchise to a qualified buyer capable of being licensed as a new vehicle dealer in this state;

(x) Fail to respond in writing to a request for consent as specified in paragraph (ix) of this subsection within sixty (60) days of receipt of a written request. Failure to respond within the time specified is consent to the request;

(xi) Prevent or attempt to prevent any new vehicle dealer from changing the executive management control of the new vehicle dealer unless the manufacturer shows the change of executive management will result in executive management or control by a person who is not of good moral character or who does not meet reasonable, preexisting and, with consideration given to the volume of sales and service of the dealership, uniformly applied minimum business experience standards. This paragraph does not prevent a manufacturer or distributor from withholding consent based upon the prospective buyer's character, automotive experience, capital and other reasonable qualifications for appointment as a dealer, and the effect of the proposed transaction upon competition. If the manufacturer rejects a proposed change in executive management control, written notice of his reasons shall be given to the dealer within sixty (60) days of notice to the manufacturer by the dealer of the proposed change or the change in the executive management of the new vehicle dealer shall be presumptively deemed approved;

(xii) Terminate, cancel or fail to renew any franchise solely because of the death or incapacity of an owner who is not listed in the franchise as one on whose expertise and abilities the manufacturer relied in granting the franchise;

(xiii) Prevent or attempt to prevent the new vehicle dealer from receiving the fair market value of the dealership in a sale transaction or from transferring the new vehicle dealership to a spouse or legal heir as specified in this act;

(xiv) Engage in any predatory practice or discrimination against any new vehicle dealer;

(xv) Use any false or misleading advertisement in the conduct of his business as a manufacturer or distributor in this state;

(xvi) Make any false or misleading statement, either directly or through any agent or employee, to induce any new vehicle dealer to enter into any agreement or franchise.

(d) No manufacturer or any officer, agent or representative shall coerce or attempt to coerce any new vehicle dealer in this state to sell, assign or transfer any retail installment sales contract obtained by the dealer in connection with the sale by him in this state of new vehicles manufactured or sold by the manufacturer to a specified finance company, class of companies or to any other specified person.

(e) Any statement, threats, promises, acts, contracts or offers of contracts which lessen or eliminate competition or tend to create a monopoly are unfair trade practices, unfair methods of competition and are prohibited.

(f) No manufacturer or agent or employee of a manufacturer shall use a written instrument, agreement or waiver to attempt to nullify any of the provisions of this section. Any such agreement, written instrument or waiver is null and void.

(g) No person shall directly or indirectly impose unreasonable restrictions on the new vehicle dealer relative to the sale, transfer, right to renew, termination, discipline, noncompetition covenants, site control (whether by sublease, collateral pledge of lease, or otherwise), right of first refusal to purchase, option to purchase, compliance with subjective standards and assertion of legal or equitable rights.

(h) This act applies to all written franchise agreements between a manufacturer and a new vehicle dealer, including but not limited to, the franchise offering, the franchise agreement, sales of goods, services or advertising, promises to pay, security interests, pledges, insurance contracts, advertising contracts, construction or installation contracts, servicing contracts and all other agreements where the manufacturer has any direct or indirect interest.

(j) No motor vehicle manufacturer or distributor licensed under this act, directly or indirectly, shall offer to sell or sell new motor vehicles to a consumer except through a new vehicle dealer who holds a valid sales and service agreement, franchise, or contract granted by the manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler for the sale of its motor vehicles. This subsection shall not apply to a licensed direct sale manufacturer, sales to affiliates of the manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler, sales to the federal government, charitable organizations or sales to employees of the manufacturer, distributor or wholesaler.

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