Introduced Version






SENATE BILL No. 79

_____


DIGEST OF INTRODUCED BILL



Citations Affected: IC 24-4.6-5; IC 34-24-3-1.

Synopsis: Motor fuel theft. Provides that if motor fuel from a retailer is pumped into a vehicle and proper payment is not made to the retailer, the owner of the vehicle is liable to the retailer for the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped plus a service charge of $50. Provides that a retailer, to collect from the vehicle owner, must send a notice of nonpayment to the vehicle owner by certified mail. Allows a retailer to use a designee to send notices and make collections. Provides that, if a vehicle owner does not pay the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped plus the service charge within 30 days after the retailer sends the notice, the vehicle owner is also subject to liability to the retailer for other damages, costs, fees, and expenses. Provides that within 30 days after the sending of the retailer's notice, the vehicle owner may send a written response to the retailer disputing the retailer's claim or stating that, when the motor fuel was pumped into the vehicle, the vehicle owner was not operating the vehicle and was not responsible for paying for the motor fuel. Provides that if a vehicle owner sends such a response to the retailer, the retailer shall stop communicating with the vehicle owner but may still seek to recover from the vehicle owner by initiating a civil action. Requires the bureau of motor vehicles (BMV) to adopt rules under which retailers may obtain the names and mailing addresses of vehicle owners from the BMV for purposes of recovering for motor fuel that is pumped into vehicles without payment being made.

Effective: July 1, 2011.





Young R Michael




    January 5, 2011, read first time and referred to Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters.







Introduced

First Regular Session 117th General Assembly (2011)


PRINTING CODE. Amendments: Whenever an existing statute (or a section of the Indiana Constitution) is being amended, the text of the existing provision will appear in this style type, additions will appear in this style type, and deletions will appear in this style type.
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SENATE BILL No. 79



    A BILL FOR AN ACT to amend the Indiana Code concerning trade regulation.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Indiana:

SOURCE: IC 24-4.6-5; (11)IN0079.1.1. -->     SECTION 1. IC 24-4.6-5 IS ADDED TO THE INDIANA CODE AS A NEW CHAPTER TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]:
    Chapter 5. Vehicle Owner Liability for Motor Fuel Theft
    Sec. 1. As used in this chapter, "motor fuel" includes gasoline (as defined in IC 6-6-1.1-103(g)), special fuel (as defined in IC 6-6-2.5-22), and alternative fuel (as defined in IC 6-6-2.5-1).
    Sec. 2. As used in this chapter, "retailer" means a person that engages in the business of selling or distributing motor fuel to an end user within Indiana.
    Sec. 3.    As used in this chapter, "vehicle" has the meaning set forth in IC 6-6-5-1(a).

     Sec. 4. (a) Subject to section 6(b) of this chapter, if:
        (1) motor fuel from a retailer is pumped into a vehicle; and
        (2) proper payment is not made to the retailer for the motor fuel;
the owner of the vehicle is liable to the retailer for the total pump

price of the motor fuel pumped into the vehicle plus a service charge of fifty dollars ($50).
    (b) The service charge may be imposed upon a vehicle owner when notice is mailed to the vehicle owner under section 5 of this chapter. Only one (1) service charge may be imposed under this section for each incident in which motor fuel is pumped into a vehicle and proper payment is not made.
    Sec. 5. (a) To collect a liability from a vehicle owner under this chapter, a retailer (or the retailer's designee) must first send a notice of nonpayment to the vehicle owner by certified mail, to the address indicated by records obtained under section 8 of this chapter.
    (b) A notice sent under subsection (a) must:
        (1) state the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped into the vehicle owner's vehicle and the amount of the service charge;
        (2) state how the vehicle owner is to pay the liability;
        (3) include a copy of this chapter and IC 34-24-3;
        (4) state that, subject to section 6(b) of this chapter, the vehicle owner is subject to liability for an amount equal to triple the total pump price of the motor fuel received plus other damages under IC 34-24-3-1 if the liability is not paid within thirty (30) days; and
        (5) include a signed statement by the retailer or the employee of the retailer who reported the incident in which motor fuel was pumped into the vehicle owner's vehicle and proper payment was not made, setting forth:
            (A) the date, time, and location of the incident; and
            (B) the license plate number of the vehicle into which the motor fuel was pumped.
    Sec. 6. (a) Subject to subsection (b), if a vehicle owner does not pay the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped and the service charge within thirty (30) days after the retailer or the retailer's designee sends the notice to the vehicle owner under section 5 of this chapter, the vehicle owner:
        (1) is liable to the retailer for:
            (A) the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped, as set forth in the notice sent under section 5 of this chapter; and
            (B) the service charge under section 4 of this chapter; and
        (2) is subject to liability to the retailer for other damages, costs, fees, and expenses in an action brought by the retailer under IC 34-24-3-1.


    (b) If a vehicle owner, not more than thirty (30) days after the retailer or the retailer's designee sends the notice to the vehicle owner under section 5 of this chapter, sends written notice to the retailer or its designee:
        (1) disputing the retailer's claim that motor fuel was pumped into the vehicle owner's vehicle and proper payment was not made; or
        (2) stating that, when motor fuel was pumped into the vehicle owner's vehicle and proper payment was not made, the vehicle owner was not operating the vehicle and was not responsible for paying for the motor fuel pumped into the vehicle;
the vehicle owner does not become liable to the retailer under subsection (a)(1), and the retailer (and any designee of the retailer) shall cease communications and all collection efforts under this chapter. However, the retailer may pursue a civil action against the vehicle owner under IC 34-24-3-1.
    Sec. 7. If a vehicle owner does not:
        (1) pay the total pump price of the motor fuel pumped and the service charge in response to a notice sent by a retailer under this chapter; or
        (2) reply to the retailer's notice with a written notice under section 6(b)(1) or 6(b)(2) of this chapter;
the vehicle owner's civil liability under this chapter does not preclude criminal liability under IC 35-43-4-2, IC 35-43-4-3, IC 35-43-4-8, or any other law.
    Sec. 8. (a) The bureau of motor vehicles shall adopt rules under IC 4-22-2 to implement a system by which a retailer or an association of retailers may obtain the name and mailing address of the owner of a vehicle involved in an incident in which motor fuel is pumped into the vehicle and proper payment is not made. The bureau of motor vehicles may integrate any system established under this section with its existing programs for the release of information under IC 9-14-3.
    (b) The bureau of motor vehicles may enter into an agreement with an association of retailers to establish:
        (1) a fee different from the fees provided for in IC 9-29-2-2(a); or
        (2) other negotiated terms for the release of vehicle owner records;
for purposes of the system established under this section.
    (c) Any release of information by the bureau of motor vehicles

under this section must be:
        (1) consistent with the authority of the bureau of motor vehicles under IC 9-14-3.5; and
        (2) in compliance with 18 U.S.C. 2721 et seq.

SOURCE: IC 34-24-3-1; (11)IN0079.1.2. -->     SECTION 2. IC 34-24-3-1 IS AMENDED TO READ AS FOLLOWS [EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2011]: Sec. 1. If a person has an unpaid claim on a liability that is covered by IC 24-4.6-5 or suffers a pecuniary loss as a result of a violation of IC 35-43, IC 35-42-3-3, IC 35-42-3-4, or IC 35-45-9, the person may bring a civil action against the person who caused the loss for the following:
        (1) An amount not to exceed three (3) times:
             (A) the actual damages of the person suffering the loss, in the case of a liability that is not covered by IC 24-4.6-5; or
            (B) the total pump price of the motor fuel received, in the case of a liability that is covered by IC 24-4.6-5.

        (2) The costs of the action.
        (3) A reasonable attorney's fee.
        (4) Actual travel expenses that are not otherwise reimbursed under subdivisions (1) through (3) and are incurred by the person suffering loss to:
            (A) have the person suffering loss or an employee or agent of that person file papers and attend court proceedings related to the recovery of a judgment under this chapter; or
            (B) provide witnesses to testify in court proceedings related to the recovery of a judgment under this chapter.
        (5) A reasonable amount to compensate the person suffering loss for time used to:
            (A) file papers and attend court proceedings related to the recovery of a judgment under this chapter; or
            (B) travel to and from activities described in clause (A).
        (6) Actual direct and indirect expenses incurred by the person suffering loss to compensate employees and agents for time used to:
            (A) file papers and attend court proceedings related to the recovery of a judgment under this chapter; or
            (B) travel to and from activities described in clause (A).
        (7) All other reasonable costs of collection.