curbstoning prohibited

I may be too dense, but I don’t really understand (from the many news reports I’ve read so far) how they’re going to tell the difference between those they need to fine and those they don’t.

Council approves curb vehicle-selling practice
‘Curbstoning’ can leave buyers with damaged car

— reported by the Houston Chronicle(1)

Car brokers who park for-sale vehicles on streets or lots without permission could pay fines and see their products towed under an ordinance the Houston City Council approved today.

The new law, passed with little discussion, aims at a practice called “curbstoning” – the business of buying and selling cars without a dealer license or an established place of business.

It is directed at people who sell cars as a business, not private individuals who display their own cars for sale on their property or adjacent rights-of-way.

Violation is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a municipal court fine of up to $500. And police could tow violating vehicles after warning sellers.

In pushing the ordinance, the city contended that curbstoning can promote neighborhood eyesores and fraudulent sales practices.

[snip]

The rules give police the power to call such sellers and ask them to move their vehicles or face a tow. Violators face municipal court fines up to $500.

[snip]

City officially makes ‘curbstoning’ illegal
— reported by the Houston Business Journal

[snip]

The passage of the ordinance is the culmination of efforts by City Councilmembers Toni Lawrence and Ronald Green, the Houston Police Department and representatives from the automobile dealership, industry among others, (See: “Catch-22 prevents crackdown on ‘curbstoning,’ May 2, 2005.)

The ordinance stems from new legislative authority given to the city by the State of Texas through the passage of House Bill 2509. The law empowers cities to fight curbstoning by allowing city municipal courts to hear violations on the matter. Previously, the city had no jurisdiction over the practice.

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Reminders:

  1. Houston Chronicle links expire after a few days because they’re archived. If you want to access these articles after that, you either have to be a subscriber or go to the Houston Public Library and access the database using your Library Power Card.
  2. KHOU CBS Channel 11 requires a free registration.

Author: Paloma Cruz

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