Should Honda replace the illegal tint on my used car?

Shutterstock

The tint on Benjamin Schwartz’s Honda is not quite up to standards, and he wants his dealership to fix it. But should it?

Question: I’m having trouble with a car dealership. I’m hoping you can help me determine if I’m being reasonable and, if so, what further steps I can take.

About four years ago I was shopping for a Honda Accord sedan. I looked at quite a few, but one in particular caught my eye because it was certified, which means it came with a Honda extended warranty. It had tinted windows and it was offered at a fair price by a no-haggle dealership with a great reputation, Holler Honda in Orlando. I ended up purchasing that car and I was very happy with both the vehicle and purchase experience.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by MedjetAssist. Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

My issue cropped up recently when I was pulled over by a police officer because of the tinted windows. The officer measured the tint on the window at 19 percent VLT, a darkness which is illegal in both Alabama, where the ticket was issued, and Florida, where I purchased the vehicle. I also double-checked to see if the tint was legal at the time of the sale. It wasn’t. In fact, Florida’s tint law hasn’t changed since 1991.

Prior to this incident, I was unaware that there was a law regarding window tint, but Holler Honda should have been and should have done a better job ensuring that the vehicle they sold complied with state laws.

I brought the issue to the attention of the dealership general manager. He told me that they normally remove the tint before selling a car and that mine had slipped through the cracks. He offered to have the tint removed but not replaced.

I did not think that was fair because it would deprive me of a valuable feature of the car which I purchased. Holler Honda advertised a car with window tint prominently featured; I liked that it kept the car cooler and I liked the way the car looked with the tint. Though I had been looking at several different vehicles, the tint was a distinguishing feature of this particular car.

If I accepted their offer, the cost to have the windows tinted again — legally, of course — would come out of my pocket. In my opinion, I’d paid for the tint when I bought the car and the only fair solution would be to have a legal tint put on. What reputable dealer would take back a feature a customer had paid for without any other consideration?

To avoid paying the ticket, I went ahead and had the tint replaced with the darkest allowed by law, but I kept working on the issue. The dealership’s parent company told me the issue was in the general manager’s hands. Honda Motor Company told me that they had no control over the dealership as long as the car passed Honda’s checks to be certified.

In response to my BBB complaint, the dealership said that it was too difficult for them to keep up with “continuing multiple changes in the law.” But as I mentioned, Florida’s tint law hasn’t changed in over 20 years.

They also mentioned that it has been four years since I purchased the car. That’s entirely true, but I don’t think it has any bearing on the issue. Had I known the tint was illegal, I certainly would have asked them to fix it before I bought the car. But it’s also the dealership’s responsibility to know enough about cars and the law to ensure that every car that leaves their lot is legal. They admit that they made a mistake four years ago and it wasn’t discovered until now, but it was still their mistake.

Am I being unreasonable by asking them to reimburse me for the full cost of replacing the tint? — Benjamin Schwartz, Madison, Ala.

Answer: Not at all. If your Honda dealership sold you a car, it’s fair to assume the vehicle was legal in every respect.

Actually, this is the first time I’ve heard of anyone being pulled over for an illegal tint, but it turns out that it happens from time to time. Highway patrol officers in Florida carry gadgets called VLT meters, which is shorthand for Visible Light Transmission, and they can cite you for breaking the state’s tinting rules.

According to Florida state law, your front passenger windows need to allow 28 percent or more of light through the glass. Rear passenger and back windows must allow at least 15 percent or more.

These laws were passed in 1991 and haven’t changed, so your dealership should have known about them.

Simply covering the removal of your tint wasn’t enough. That’s like saying your car radio doesn’t work, so we’ll uninstall it at no extra charge. The dealership would have deleted an important feature for which you probably paid extra.

Holler Honda also said too much time had passed since your purchase, but that doesn’t make sense. It sells extended warranties and knows that its best customers are repeat customers. More on that in a moment.

I’ve reviewed the correspondence between you, the dealership, and the BBB, and find it difficult to escape the conclusion that the dealership was just trying to find any excuse not to fix your faulty tint. On the surface, its reasons seem sensible, but when you think about them, they just don’t make any sense.

I was fairly confident that a review of your case would result in a full refund for your new tint job. The dealership in question, as you note, has a great reputation for doing the right thing for its customers.

I contacted the Holler Honda on your behalf multiple times. Finally, an attorney representing the dealership emailed me, reiterating the same arguments used by the dealership, and noting that the BBB had also sided with his client.

“We have made a good faith offer to assist Mr. Schwartz in the same manner he would have been assisted at the time of purchase and he has refused that offer,” the attorney wrote. “There is nothing else we are willing to offer to him at this point.”

Here’s the kicker: I live in Orlando and Holler Honda is the dealership where I purchased my Accord and where I get the car serviced. If they refer a small dispute like this to lawyer, I wonder what they’ll do with me if I ever complain about my car?

Update (3 p.m.): Holler Honda has responded to this post:

We do not, as a practice, sell any vehicle with tinting. At the time this vehicle was sold, the current general manager was not working at the store. Nonetheless, he agreed to pay to have the alleged tinting removed and was very courteous and responsible in this matter – for a used car that we sold more than four years ago.

Without even proof of the tinting at time of sale (because this was a used car and would not have shown up on any listing as an accessory or otherwise; the dealership did not install the tinting), we offered to do what we would have paid to do at the time of sale–remove the tinting.

We have learned to our dismay that the individual seems more interested in disparaging our dealership with partial facts in his postings than solving the problem; a problem that did not even present itself during more than four years of, to our knowledge, care-free ownership of the car during which the useful life of the tinting likely ran its course.

Should Holler Honda have replaced the tint on Benjamin Schwartz's car?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

179 thoughts on “Should Honda replace the illegal tint on my used car?

  1. My first question is “What dealership sold the vehicle ORIGINALLY?”

    My second question is “Who installed the tint on the car?” The factory (this is probably unlikely but we have a vehicle with tinted windows that came from the factory)? Holler Honda? Another Honda Dealership? Or did the original owner of the vehicle had a non-dealership installed the tint?

    My third question is “where is the inspection report that came with the vehicle and was checking the tint of the windows was one of the items that was performedchecked?”

    IF the vehicle came from the factory with tinted windows then corporate Honda is responsible. IF Holler Honda sold the vehicle originally and installed the tint then they should pony up. If not, then they are not legally responsible UNLESS the inspection including checking the tint on the windows. I can hear the readers shouting “How about the Honda Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Program?”

    Here are the details on the Honda Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Program:

    Honda Certified Pre-Owned cars must be 6 years old or newer and the engine must have less than 80,000 miles. Each vehicle includes:
    •150-point mechanical and appearance inspection
    •7-year/100,000-mile Powertrain warranty from the vehicle’s original in-service date
    •12 months/12,000 miles (whichever comes first) non-powertrain warranty from the original warranty expiration date or, if the original warranty has expired, from the Honda Certified Used Cars purchase date.
    •$0 deductible
    •CARFAX® Vehicle History Report™
    •Warranty is transferable
    •Roadside Assistance
    •XM Satellite Radio 3 trial months of service

    In regards to the “150-point mechanical and appearance inspection”, I couldn’t anything on a first page Google search on what is included in this inspection. However, I found a .PDF file, wwwacuracom/content/pdf/CPO_150ptpdf, of the inspection for a certified Acura…Acura is the luxury car division of Honda. Nothing is stated about checking the tint…they only check the body for dents and scratches.

    This summer, we purchased a certified vehicle (not a Honda) and we received the inspection report as part of the transaction…the inspection report listed the items that were reviewed. In our report, they only check to see that the vehicle body is free of all dents…nothing about checking the tint of the windows.

    I am addressing “legalities” of the situation NOT what is the right thing to do and etc.

    1. Sorry. There is an implied warranty that the car is allowable on the roads of the state where it is purchased. That is called a warranty for fitness for a particular use.

      Otherwise, car dealers could sell all sorts of junk not allowable to be driven off the lot. This car was illegal from day one. Can a car dealer sell a car with a waiver of the warranty of merchantability? Sure, but then it must be identified “as is” or “with all faults.” I highly doubt this car was sold “as is.”

      1. Cars at car dealerships like Holler Honda are sold in three way: 1. New 2. Certified Used (COP warranty) and 3. Used (As-Is warranty).

        The OP purchased a certified used-vehicle that passed a 150-pt inspection in order to be a ‘certified used vehicle’. Checking the tint of the window is not on that inspection list. The tint could be legal in Florida but not Alabama since those two states have different requirements based upon the research that I did.

        More importantly, even when you purchased a certified used-vehicle, it is sold as “As-Is” with a 7 YR/70,000 miles COP Warranty…that was disclosedlisted on our paperwork for the certified used vehicle (which had only 34 miles on it since the original owner wanted leather seats and traded the next day for the same model that had leather seats) that we purchased this summer.

        1. It is like death and pregnancy. It is “as is” or it is not. If it is certified, then it is able to be used for the intended purpose. You could have a 300-point inspection, or a one-point inspection. It is implied the car is legal to be on the street (the unambiguous intended use). In this case, it could not be driven off the lot and be legal.

          Think of it this way. All the particulars of the certification are specious if the car cannot be driven under its own power off the lot.

          1. Do you realize that the tint on the car is 6 to 10 years old depending upon when the original owner of the car put the tint on the car (which is usually when the car is purchased) when the OP was pulled over for a ticket.
            The average life span of an average tint is five years.

            According to TintCentercom:

            Under intense and constant sunlight in southern areas, bad quality dyed window film can begin to show color fading within mere months. Your standard hybrid type film will see you out for about 5 years, and the most high-end metallized sputtered or deposition window film lasts for double that to 10 years, and sometimes longer.

            The tint could have been legal when it was installed originally and it could have been legal when it was sold four years ago. It could have been illegal when the OP was pulled over in Alabama.

          2. I called three local shops, and each one stated the opposite – that when tinted films (all types) fade over time they become lighter.

          3. I bough a used car once with tint. Over time the adhesive got hazy making at darker, then it started bubbling and separation which actually made it darker, but only where it bubbled. It got hard to see out the window. I peeled it off and had to use a wire brush to get all the nasty adhesive off. I imagine the previous owner got a cheep tint job. I refuse to get tinted windows now, unless they come from the factory that way.

          4. You definition of a certified used vehicle is incorrect by Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Chrysler, etc.

          5. Certified means that the items on the list were verified as functional and not defective at the time of the inspection. It does not state that everything including after market additions are functional or even legal.

            I do agree that a dealership should not be selling cars that are not fully street legal.

          6. Certified or not, the mere sale comes with an implied legality warranty. “Certified” simply gives it the air of “not going to break down on the way home from the dealer.”

      2. You have it right. The car has to conform to state standards upon sale. The dealer affixes a state inspection stamp to the vehicle [at least in my state] which says that the car meets standards.

        Write to the state police, and have them do the inspection. Kinda difficult now that the tint has been replaced. Shouldda called them IMMEDIATELY and let them do a test. Paper trail would have shown that the dealer was responsible. I suspect that it still does; simply force the issue. The state police can probably help on this.

        My aunt had a car in NY which moved to FL, and then to VA. In the moves, the VIN got mangled. DMV toad said I had to get it fixed by going back thru the whole chain. The VIN shown in the current paperwork was IMPOSSIBLE – no way it could ever be on that car due to the configuration management schema of the manufacturer. State trooper came out, looked at the car, looked at the paperwork, changed the paperwork, signed it, and that fixed it.

        Call the troopers. They manage the inspection program, and they can make the dealer miserable for non-conformance to standards. They can SUSPEND them from doing inspections. Watch them change their attitude…….

      3. This just makes common sense. I mean, you should be able to legally drive the car off the lot on the day you purchased it. Clearly that wasn’t the case, and the dealership is responsible for replacing the tint.

        I’m surprised Florida law even allows a company to sell a product that, when used as intended, is illegal in Florida.

        1. Holler Honda didn’t do the right thing in the first place before the car was sold and therefore ought to do whatever it can to make the customer happy at this point.

  2. The cost to put ‘standard’ tint in a car is under $ 200 according to Florida Window Films (February 2014): “In Florida, the average cost for a four door vehicle, with a high performance metalized window film, can range between $130-$180. This can be higher depending on the type of vehicle, condition of the windows, and season. A nano-ceramic window film can start at $250 and go up from there, fluctuating for the same reasons as above. In other states these prices can be very different so check with your local window tinting shop.”

    Based upon a quick Google search, tinting adds value to the car but it is minimal…a $ 200 tint job will add like $ 50 to the value of the car. It is like homeowners in Arizona that spends $ 50,000 on a pool only to find out that it adds only $ 5,000 (maybe $ 10,000 if they have something unique or etc) to the value of their homes.

    The OP was able to avoid the ticket by changing the tint. He drove the car for four years…please be advise that SOME tint will fade, bubble, etc. and need to be replaced in the future. Even IF the original tint added 100% of its costs to the value of the vehicle (it is unlikely but lets assume), we are probably talking less than $ 200…reality, it is probably about $ 25 to $ 50. The dealer offered to remove the tint which has a value of $ 30 to $ 120 (with $ 30 to $ 50 being the norm) on what I saw in the Google searches that I did…which is probably the same value that the tinted windows gave to the car.

    1. So if a store sells you something for $30 that doesn’t work or breaks in a couple of weeks, you’ll be OK with that because it was “only” $30?

  3. Another question: “Did the OP purchased an extended warranty in addition to the certified pre owned warranty that came with the car?”
    Chris wrote “Holler Honda also said too much time had passed since your purchase, but that doesn’t make sense. It sells extended warranties and knows that its best customers are repeat customers.”

    I don’t think the OP purchased an extended warranty on his vehicle from Holler Honda. The car that he purchased came with a certified used vehicle warranty (commonly know as CPO – certified pre owned warranty). There is a difference between an extended warranty and a CPO warranty.

    According to Autocom:

    Typical coverage: CPO warranties usually cover parts and labor for a specific list of components. Among them are the electrical system, air conditioning and heating system, fuel system and brake and ABS system. Also covered is the transmission, engine,
    suspension, steering and the drive assembly.

    Typical non-coverage: General wear and tear, body and interior, accessories and items involved in standard car upkeep are not covered by a CPO warranty. This includes but is not limited to the areas of the engine, transmission, belts, fluids, batteries, lubricants, brake pads, rotors, shoes and drums. Tires, the exhaust system and elements of the suspension system are also not covered. So even though the engine may fall into the coverage category, many of its components are not covered. The same is true with just about every other system in the car. The warranty is meant to cover general failure of a system but not necessarily the breakdown of a particular part.

    When we purchased our certified used vehicle this summer, the dealership tried to sell us an extended warranty on top of the CPO warranty that came with the vehicle as well as the factory warranty by explaining and showing us what the CPO warranty covers and doesn’t cover.

    EVEN IF CPO warranty covers the tint (it doesn’t!!!!)…the CPO warranty is only for 12 months or 12,000 whichever comes first…it has been four years so the warranty is over.

    1. I expect that the warranty is a non-issue. The OP paid for a feature that, at the time of sale, was not legal. I assume it is also illegal (?) for the dealer to sell it in that condition, provided it should reasonably have known. Thus, the OP’s request should be fulfilled IMO.

      Perhaps the next step for the OP is small claims court.

  4. Maybe its just me, but something is not right here Chris. The OP says “… illegal in both Alabama, where the ticket was issued, and Florida, where I purchased the vehicle. I also double-checked that the tint was not illegal at the time of the sale.” Those are contradictory statements, are they not, unless the tint changed over time?

    But if that’s the case, then he has no case. The tint would have been legal when the dealer sold it to him and, sorry, case closed!

        1. Ha, I was coming to post the same thing. Should read “I also double-checked that the tint was not legal at the time of the sale.”

          1. You guys need to work on your reading comprehension. The second sentence modifies the first. No changes necessary: “I also double-checked to see if the tint was legal at the time of the sale. It wasn’t (legal).”

          2. But he still knowingly bought it and went ahead with the sale rather than talk to the dealer at the time of purchase. Seems like buying the car was a mistake.

          3. I’m not sure it’s reasonable to expect a customer to ask/challenge a dealer about window tinting before the sale. I certainly would not.

          4. It’s always reasonable to have conversations about the details of the expensive product you’re buying. But I also come from a family of do-it-yourself mechanics. May have been raised expecting a different level of service.

  5. Chris be thankful you don’t live in The People’s Democratic Republic of New Jersey where window tint tickets are a big revene generator for local municipalities.

    I would say in this case it would really depend on Florida state laws for car dealership. Are they allowed to sell a car that does not comply with state tint laws? (from what I remeber there are no state safety inspections there) Is there proof that the dealership admitted the tint was on the vehicle when purchased? From a strict liability standpoint the dealership may be on solid ground.

    From a customer service standpoint over the four years was he a “good customer” for the dealership? Did he return for regular service or purchase other vehicles? If not and they are on firm ground for selling the vehicle “as is” (Honda warranties the certified vehicle, not the dealer), why would they help this guy?? I bet if he was a good customer they would have helped him immediately.

    Similar story, but when my father purchased a vehicle from a dealership my family bought and serviced cars from for years he traded a truck with PA plates, the plates were transferred to a car, my father received a registration from the state, he was pulled over in NJ and given a ticket for “unclear plates”, fought in court and lost (how I can’t understand), and the dealership footed the entire bill because they were good customers.

    Window tint is cheap, $200-$300 so this is not a huge out of pocket expense…

    Phew sorry about the long reply!!!!

    1. The first thing I thought of as I read this story was the NJ window tint laws and how the OP was lucky not to live there instead.

    2. “from what I remeber there are no state safety inspections there”

      Well, that certainly does have an impact on this case. No wonder the dealer is lawyering-up.

  6. I voted no, I think the dealership owes him something, and in this case removing the tint is the something. My rational is that while I sympathize with the LW, I hear no due diligence on his behalf at the time he purchased the car. He’s the buyer and the operator of the vehicle, he has some responsibility (to what degree I don’t want to guess), and it sounds like from the LW he did nothing, din’t ask question, didn’t do research, didn’t have a safety inspection by a third party. I don’t know what percentage of responsibility for this issue is in the overall transaction of the car, but whatever it is the dealership can just as easily use the argument that they don’t have to exhibit absolute performance, but only significant performance. Regardless if using the “value” or the “cost” of the window tinting its a very minor portion of the overall transaction.

    If the LW feels some law was violated in the sale, they should approach their attorney generals office for guidance and filling a complaint with the respective agency.

    1. Why should one have to have an additional inspection by a third party when buying from a dealer? The dealer should deliver a vehicle which is in conformance with state standards, wouldn’t you think?

      Why is it you are putting the onus on the victim? Get real! How many people would know about the tint law?

      1. When buying a used vehicle, I always have it inspected by an independent inspector even if it has the so called certified warranty. New cars I don’t.

        I just don’t trust used car dealers. 🙂

      2. Every time I purchase a used car, I get an independent inspection. I suspect a dealer to be even sleazier than a private sale. The Certification only states certain items were checked, not everything. I have been told my whole life, and have seen on every single court TV show, that the buyer should always get an independent inspection.

      3. That’s due diligence, caveat emptor. I don’t see the LW as a victim, he didn’t get a lemon, the dealer explained what their practice was (to remove tints) and the dealer offered to do so. The main issue for me is that it’s not illegal to put this deep a tint on a car (it’s only illegal to operate it with such a tint), and their is no requirement that this illegal depth of tint would invalidate or make illegal the sale.

        1. Let’s see……

          The guy bought the car wanting tinted windows.

          The tint was, unknown to him, illegal. Now, just exactly how many people are going to test a car’s tint for % of light transmission to ensure it conforms to state-mandated standards? Only some dirtbag jurisdictions sending their cops out to steal money from travelers passing through will do that, as happened to this person.

          When he discovered that it was illegal, he requested redress from the dealer.

          Dealer told him that their policy is to scroo the customer, and you’re out of luck.

          Main issue for ME is that many people will side with the scroo-or against the scroo-ee, for the simple reason that they seem to revel in the misfortune of the scroo-ee. I’ve seen many posts which seem to take sides AGAINST the person requesting assistance from Chris. Why is that so?

          1. Your focusing on the tinted windows and not he car, the LW didn’t buy tinted windows he bought a car, that’s what he got, the car came with tinted windows, the LW liked them, he bought the package. The dealer isn’t required to sell only cars with legal tints on them.

            Forest:Tree problem, you buy a forest and its got one bad tree in it. Should of examined all the trees if its important to you.

          2. So it doesn’t matter what he got, so long as he got a car? He wanted a fuel-efficient differential ratio, but discovered it was a gas-eater? It’s ok?

            He didn’t buy a forest. He bought a car with tinted windows in Florida, and they were not up to standards. It took him a long time to discover that, but it doesn’t lessen the fact that they didn’t give him what he agreed to buy. Passage of time doesn’t mitigate anything.

            Looks like we will agree to disagree on this one…..

          3. He didn’t get “a” car he got “the” car he wanted. He didn’t buy a Lambo and get delivered a beetle. They were up to standard they didn’t swap out the tinted windows he bought for some other kind of tinted windows, and it is up to standard since it isn’t illegal to see a car with windows tinted beyond the legal limit.

            They gave him EXACTLY the windows he agreed to buy.

          4. Now you’re being silly. You say this guy would knowingly buy a car which did not meet state legal requirements? They were up to what standard? You simply won’t give up. The guy got hosed, and you won’t admit it.

          5. There is no requirement prohibiting installing that level of tint, what did the previous owner do, go to some underground tinting shop to have his “illegal” tint applied?
            I’m saying this guy din’t know and didn’t do the research to find out if the tint level was legal to operate the vehicle, and that’s on him.
            He didn’t get housed, the car runs, and does what it’s supposed to do, and its not like the tint was hidden, he knowingly bought what was sold him.
            What if he had known, it wasn’t legal to operate the vehicle with that level of tint? The dealer would do the same thing, either remove the tint, or move on to another vehicle. This guys coming back to the dealer FOUR years later, and he didn’t find out about the tint level until he was in ANOTHER state then the one it was sold in.

          6. He shouldn’t HAVE to ask if the car conforms to the law. Buying from a licensed dealer would give the impression that they are conforming to the law. One would assume that they are going to sell you a car which will not cause you to be in violation of the law. A consumer who buys a car should not have to be a certified state inspector in order to obtain a vehicle which conforms to legal requirements – the dealer should provide a vehicle which so does. Vending a vehicle which does NOT conform to legal requirements is not a proper business practice. Unfortunately for that consumer, Florida has no inspection requirements. If if it did, the dealer’s permission to inspect vehicles before passing title to buyers would be immediately suspended pending resolution of the issues involved.

            He didn’t get the car he wanted. He wanted a LEGAL car; this one ain’t that. Discovery of a crime 4 years later doesn’t mitigate the crime. Discovering that the vehicle they sold you 4 years ago has caused you to break the law every time you drove it does not relieve the dealer of his responsibility to provide a vehicle which conforms to the legal code, nor does it relieve him of his responsibility to reimburse the customer for any losses he suffered as a result of the customer’s having relied upon the dealer’s vending that vehicle under the assumption that it was in compliance with legal requirements when it was in fact not.

            Why do you defend law-breaking? Why do you take sides against the customer?

  7. Does Florida have a medical exception for window tinting for certain people? It might be that the car was legal for someone, just not for him.

  8. He had the car for 4 years in Florida with the illegal window tint and had no problems with it. The problem occurred when he received a ticket in another state that obviously did a better job of enforcing its window tint law. I am on the fence about this one, but I think that after 4 years with no problems in the state in which the car is registered then the dealer removing the tint was enough. And that tint does not have that big an effect on the actual value of the car. And I cannot help but wonder if the tint had been legal in Florida but illegal in Alabama if the LW would have said that the dealer should have given a disclaimer that the tint was not legal in every state.

      1. Florida state attorney general website says that unless the seller of a car states it conforms to specific standards, it does not have to conform to standards to be legally sold, and that the onus is on the buyer.

          1. I just went back and looked, it applies to both dealers and private sales. It also says there is no lemon law, and states there is no warranty of merchantability unless the dealership gives such a warranty in writing. Florida has some pretty consumer unfriendly laws when it comes to buying cars.

  9. I feel like there is more to the story. For a dealership with a good reputation to offer to remove the tint, but then dig in their heels and refuse to replace it, all over a couple hundred dollars? Then they went so far as to have their lawyer draft a refusal letter to Chris, there has to be more to it.

    The LW spins a tale of woe about how he loves the tint and how it’s illegal in FL and AL, etc. He comes off as sounding needy and demanding, which may be why the dealership doesn’t want to do anything more for him. Just what did the LW ask for exactly? Just to replace the tint to a very specific standard (and possibly cost)? Did he ask for other things too?

    1. I think “tale of woe” is an exaggeration. He stated his case in a well-articulated fashion.

      But to your larger point, I just re-read his comments and found “He told me that they normally remove the tint before selling a car and that mine had slipped through the cracks”. That would appear to be the reason for the dealer’s refusal to re-tint. The OP further states that “Holler Honda advertised a car with window tint prominently featured”, so I it is a bit challenging to get a firm grasp on the facts. What does “prominently featured” mean? A photo? Words in the ad? Does the OP have any proof?

      1. The statement from the OP of “He told me that they normally remove the tint before selling a car and that mine had slipped through the cracks” is hearsay. Was that in writing? Did he recorded that on his iPhone?

        The OP stated in the article: “In fact, Florida’s tint law hasn’t changed since 1991.”

        I went to the International Window Film Association website. They have a page. wwwiwfacom/Portals/0/PDFDocs/Law_Charts/Window_Tint_State_Law_Chart_2014pdf
        , that list the tint requirementsregulations per state. This document was last updated 5/15/2014.

        This document stated that AL enacted their regulations or their last update occurred in 1996. Florida enacted or last updated their regulations in 2005. If this is correct, the OP is wrong that Florida has not changed their tint law since 1991.

        Also, this document states that Alabama has a 3% tolerance. The OP stated that his windows had a 19% ‘rating’ when he was pulled over in AL and the regulation in AL is 20%. Is the 3% tolerance is plus or minus 3% (17% – 23%) or 0.6% (3% x 20%)? Maybe that is how he avoided the ticket in AL.

        I think that there is more to the story than what has been presented.

        1. 2005 was almost 10 years ago. That’s plenty of time for the dealer to read up on “ever-changing” laws to make sure the vehicles they sell comply. That also begs the question of what actually changed in 2005. Was it a substantial change (say it was 20% in 1991 vs. 28% in 2005?) Or was it something more minor like a word usage (“must” vs. “may”) which may or may not change how the law is followed or enforced?

        2. The statement from the OP of “He told me that they normally remove the tint before selling a car and that mine had slipped through the cracks” is hearsay.

          How can you call it hearsay when the dealership’s own attorney acknowledges it?

          “We have made a good faith offer to assist Mr. Schwartz in the same manner he would have been assisted at the time of purchase and he has refused that offer,” the attorney wrote

        3. Florida enacted or last updated their regulations in
          2005. If this is correct, the OP is wrong that Florida has not changed
          their tint law since 1991.

          You can visit http://www.leg.state.fl.Us to verify for yourself that the applicable laws (Florida Statutes Title XXIII 316.2951 – 316.2957) did not materially change since at least 1997.

          In 2005, this bill was passed to exempt some former military vehicles from the regulation:
          http://laws.flrules.Org/files/Ch_2005-047.pdf

          In 2010, this bill was passed to add other exemptions (sunscreening exclusion, medical exemption, certain law enforcement vehicles and private investigative service vehicles…):
          http://laws.flrules.Org/files/Ch_2010-223.pdf

          According to this footnote from a court ruling, the standards were first enacted in 1984:

          We note that sections 316.2952-316.2956, Florida Statutes (1997), enacted in 1984, prohibit excessively tinted automobile windows.   Section 316.2953 provides that the side windows of an automobile may only have a coating or tinting with a “solar reflectance on visible light of not more than 25 percent as measured on the nonfilm side and a light transmittance of at least 28 percent in the visible light range.”   However, this statute’s possible interface with the concealed weapons statute is not before us.

          http://caselaw.findlaw.Com/fl-supreme-court/1037568.html

        4. AZ: Just because the overall section of law or regulation where the window tint rules are specified was changed in 2005 does NOT mean that the standard for how much light must be transmitted changed. The regulation change could have raised (or lowered) the fine for non-compliance, for instance, and that would trigger a “latest update”. To know for sure, one would have to compare the regulation or statutory wording as it appeared in 1991 with how it appeared post-2005.

          As for the 3% tolerance: It almost certainly means that if 20% light has to shine through, a reading of 17% would be within tolerance. There’s no reason to go the other direction because anything above 20% is acceptable, so “17%-23%” is meaningless. That may indeed be how the ticket was avoided. Another possibility is that some states allow minor infractions to be corrected within a fixed period and, if proof is presented that the situation is corrected, the ticket is waived.

    2. I can actually see where the dealership is coming from. It was a used car sale 4 years ago, so it’s not like they’re still counting all the money they made off this guy. Management and/or ownership could even have changed over that span of time. Removing the tint makes the car street legal everywhere (no need to worry that the darkest tint allowable in Florida might still get the guy ticketed in some other state) and assures this problem won’t come up again with this guy.

      And another factor that might be affecting the dealership’s attitude is the fact that illegal tints are incredibly common. I’d guess a typical tint shop probably puts on as many illegal tints as they do legal ones. It’s not something you tend to get ticketed on and many people will just count a ticket (assuming they ever do get one) as part of the price of having a neat-looking car. Not saying the OP believes that, but it’s a common enough attitude that the dealership people might assume that, especially since the OP freely admits the tint was one of the main things that drew him to the car in the first place.

    3. Self-entitlement? Self-centered? Narcissistic?
      I won’t go to the dealer with a vehicle with an average tint that is 6 to 10 years old which is more than the expectant life span of an average tint and ask for a new tint job is around $ 200.

      1. Why is it a sense of entitlement and narcissism when a customer expects a dealer to right a wrong (in this case, selling a car that was inarguably not legal to use on the roads in the state where it was sold and on the date that it was sold), but not a sense of entitlement or narcissism when a dealer expects to be able to sell a product that doesn’t conform to the law and still keep all the profit they made from the customer?

    4. The dealer probably paid the lawyer more to write the letter than it would have cost to replace the window tinting. Bad move in regard to customer service.

  10. I couldn’t answer the poll today simply due to the time that had elapsed between the purchase and the ticket.

    Let me start here… In no way should a dealership sell a car that is illegal to operate in its state much less a “Certified Used” car.

    Having said that… Its 4 years later.
    Over the 4 years, how many cops did he pass that didn’t pull him over?
    I know that tint can have issues over the long term with adhering. I also realize that some plastics can change shade overtime becoming less transparent (think old head lights). Does anyone know if the tint can age over time changing its transparency?
    Finally, having learned a lesson from MPs that worked for me in the Army. I always question the calibration on a hand held device carried regularly by patrol officers. One of the two MPs was the “calibration NCO” for the MPs on the post and talked about how far out of calibration some of the radar guns they used were. The other talked about how guys regularly failed to operate them correctly leading to bad readings on guns mounted to their vehicles. Not gauges thrown in back seats and only turned on occasionally. So, I really wonder if the tint really was as far out as measured. You would think if it was that far out… he would have been pulled over at least one other time in 4 years.

    So the short answer is that I just don’t know. I don’t know if the tint was illegal when sold and I don’t know if the tint was illegal when ticketed. Without answers to those two, I can’t even form an opinion on whose at fault.

    1. FYI … I did some Googling and found a few cases where someone passed a state tint inspection one year and then failed the next. Apparently the gauges can be finicky especially if the windows aren’t cleaned before the test.

    2. On the research that I did, different states have different ‘darkness of tint’ levels. What if the original owner of the car installed the tint in another state where it was legal…then that owner moved to Florida and purchased a new Honda from Holler Honda and used this car as a trade-in.

      1. The dealership should test the tint prior to sale. I would assume that they would check any aftermarket accessories that may be illegal in their state and fix them prior to sale.

        1. Maybe they did and it passed…tint do fade over time especially the low-gradelow-cost tint…please remember that is has been four years after the OP purchased AND we don’t know how old the car was when the OP purchased it and how long the tint was on the car…the car could have been five years old at the time and he drove it for another 4 years…making it nine years.

          1. I made the comments for the readers that think that the car dealership should replace 6 to 10 year old tint (which they probably did NOT installed on the car for the original owner) which according to the pro-tint, tint industry website TintCentercom which states that the average tint last 5 years and the very high-end tint last 10 years.

          2. Although Arizona states that it gets darker, I was unable to find that statement on tintcenter(.)com. So I called three local shops, and each one stated the opposite – that when tinted films (all types) fade over time they become lighter.

          3. With mien the adhesive hazed, making it darker and opaque. Then when it bubbled, the bubbles became very dark.

  11. They owe him a tint and a big apology. Sounds like a typical scummy car dealership…especially over the referral to their attorney.

  12. “Actually, this is the first time I’ve heard of anyone being pulled over for an illegal tint,…”
    Fines for illegal tinting are one of the tactics that police use to racially profile and harass minority drivers. In many locations with racial profiling problems, cars are stopped for tinted windows as much or more than typical violations like speeding and running red lights. It is similar to police giving tickets to people riding bikes on the sidewalk in low income neighborhoods. It is a form of harassment rather than enforcement of a true safety issue.

    1. Not good to bring up the race card.
      Think how the police feel when they have to stop a vehicle that has darkly tinted windows. Does the person have a gun? Is the driver going to shoot me?
      Seems to be open season on police officers – please support them instead of accusing them of racial profiling.

      1. Why shouldn’t we accuse police of racial profiling when they have been shown to that that in numerous occassions. It was so prolific that in the 90s they coined a new term. DWB aka driving while Black/Brown.

  13. Usually this problem arises when states differ in their tint standards. Because of our climate the standard in Arizona is darker than in California, so our drivers are always getting pulled over when they travel to California. But if the OP’s car violated the standard of his own state at the time of purchase, it’s the dealership’s responsibility to fix it. They sold an illegal car.

    1. I got pulled over in Arizona for using a GPS. The cop told me that they are illegal unless integrated into a car. I asked how anyone could use an aftermarket GPS and he said you can get ones that mount in your dash and replace the stereo. I got a ticket, and since I was passing through I had no choice put to pay it. It woudl cost more to return and try to fight it. I now refuse to go to Arizona on principle.

      1. It’s funny because I think dashboard apps such as radios and GPS’s are bigger distractions than ones mounted on the windshield where the driver can easily see directions.

      2. That’s crazy! I just bought a Fiat 500e (the electric one… I don’t know if the non-electric 500’s come with the tom tom) and it came with a Tom Tom that has a mount for the dash… and it’s locks into a hole on the dash, and connects to my car. My phone can run through it and it tells me where charging stations are, as well as the left over charge I have, along with other info specific to my car. In other words, it’s integrated, basically. But it still is on my dash. But it is in the dash in a spot made for it specifically. I wonder if I could argue around that Arizona law. I guess it depends on the definition of “integration”. Because I’d consider it integrated considering it came with a special attachment that only works with my Fiat and it is actually connected to my car and gives me information about the car itself. That’s really interesting…

          1. I would as well, and I agree with you about them not. I think that’s what makes it an interesting issue. I bet you anything I’d win in traffic court on that, though, which just proves the point that it’s a stupid law (unless the actually says it can’t be on the dash or the window, in which case, I’d lose).

      3. Unless it was something to do with how you were using the GPS, you probably ran into a small-town speed trap that targets out-of-staters. The last time I hit one of these was years ago in Olancha, CA.

  14. Absolutely not – you should not expect to have the illegal tint replaced. I don’t know what the Certification program calls for but in my experience, the appearance of the car is generally “as is”. You get what you get. The dealer offering to remove it seems to make sense.

    If someone installed a giant aftermarket spoiler that was broken, is the dealer replacing it?

    If the car had an aftermarket car stereo with a 1000w sub and 8 great speakers… but they were broken – are you telling me you’d expect the dealer to replace that? No, they would return the car back to factor specifications for that model. If the original invoice for the car had no tint as an option, they why would they add tint past the original factory spec for that individual car? That doesn’t make sense to me.

    What does the contract say? Is the car provided “as is”? Is there a clause about custom modifications made outside of manufacturer spec?

    I would not fight for the OP and chalk it up to a learning experience about doing your due diligence before making big purchases across state lines.

    1. If the car had an aftermarket car stereo with a 1000w sub and 8 great
      speakers… but they were broken – are you telling me you’d expect the
      dealer to replace that? No, they would return the car back to factor
      specifications for that model.

      Depends. If they advertised the car as having said aftermarket car stereo then yes, they need to sell what was advertised.

      1. Carver, what is the legal standard for “illegal” configurations in a car sold by a dealer? If the tread depth, or window tint, or ground clearance, or blinkers, or … are in violation of that state’s law I would think the dealer must correct the violation before a sale.

        1. I’ve been trying to figure this out, too. Like Carver, I’m a California attorney… he and I agree sometimes and disagree other times, although we often agree on these consumer issues. I could actually argue both sides on this. On the dealer side, laches is a good argument (i.e. he waited too long… it’s different than statute of limitations… it’s an equitable argument). On his side, he wasn’t given something he was promised (i.e. a window tint, which is implied to be legal as they can’t knowingly sell something illegal, and probably can’t even unintentionally sell something illegal… knowledge is probably irrelevant here). For the money involved, I’d err on the side of giving him a new tint. He can sue in small claims and then they don’t get to have an attorney and I have a feeling he’d have a good chance of winning.

          1. Thanks. I suggested small claims elsewhere in this discussion. One thing I have read online is that FL “seems to” allow any condition of sale if the window sticker says “as is”. But does that mean they can sell it in a condition for which the buyer could be immediately ticketed?

          2. I’d still argue that “as is” means legal to drive in every sense of the word, but I think it could go either way.

        2. I suspect street legal but I can’t speak authoritatively.

          I worked on a case years ago where we prevailed. The client bought a car and it turned out the engine was salvaged from another car. According to the DMV that was illegal because the car was sold with VIN #1, but had the engine was Vin #2 which defeated the “As-is” defense

          1. Understood. Most states have a specific law regarding VINs. I found where FL does, but other than that, they seem to rely on “As-Is”

  15. Nearly every car has factory tinted glass these days and is prominently advertised by the dealerships as having tinted windows. Of course that tint is no where near the darkness offered by the after-market. This could be what the dealership was advertising.

    Can it be proven that the tint on the windows when the ticket was issued is the same tint that was on the car when the LW purchased it? Window tint, especially the very dark, tends to change color, fade, or otherwise fail over time. It is possible that the LW had replaced the tint and doesn’t want to admit the darkness chosen for the replacement exceeded legal limits. And yes, it is very easy to find someone who can willingly apply tint to your car windows that exceeds legal limits.

    Four years after I purchased a vehicle, especially one that was used when I bought it, I would not expect the dealership to do anything for me for no additional cost unless it is covered by a warranty. I don’t know of any warranty you would get from a car dealership that covers after-market window tint.

    At least Alabama was willing to dismiss the ticket after he removed the too dark tint.

  16. The key is who did the tinting. My vote is predicated on it being done by Honda at the factory while being built. If not or done by another party, there is no case. Why did he wait so long?

    1. The type of tint being discussed, removable, is not a factory option I am aware of from any manufacturer. Large SUVs do often come with darker tinted rear windows, but this is in the glass and cannot be removed. While tinting can be purchased at many dealerships as a dealer added option, what type is used is not under the control of the manufacturer.

    2. It almost certainly didn’t come from the factory. It was installed later. It could have been done before the car was sold by the dealership or a previous owner could have had it done. The dealership should probably have known if the tint was legal when they sold the car, but window tinting is sort of a funny thing in the world of cars. Tint laws vary from place to place and don’t tend to be enforced very strictly. I’ve known many people whose windows were essentially black and they went years and years before ever getting called on it by police. And even then in some cases the officer let them off with a warning.

      The reason he waited so long is that it’s not something you’d know was wrong until somebody told you so. His first clue there was a problem was when he got a ticket.

    3. According to the article, the car was already tinted when it came to the dealership. We don’t know the age of the car (probably between 2 to 6 years old…my guess is 3 years). If the tint was installed when the original owner purchased the car and the OP has driven the car for four years…the tint is 6 to 10 years old…tint will fade especially the $ 80 to $ 150 tint as well as if the car was located in a sunny location like FL, AZ and CA.

        1. Instead of the plastic becoming clearer when it fades, it becomes darker…like headlights on your car (that is why there are companies that sells a spraychemical to remove the ‘aging’ on your plastic headlights).

          1. I was unable to find that statement on tintcenter(.)com. So I called
            three local shops, and each one stated the opposite – that when tinted
            films (all types) fade over time they become lighter.

          2. I didn’t get that information from tintcentercom..I got the information on the life of a tint from that site.
            I work with several individuals from various companies in the industrial segments like chemicals, pharma, etc. I have been in labs where testing were being done where the ‘clearness’ of the product, material, liquid, etc. had an effect on how lightx-raybeametc passes through the material.
            The way that it was explained to me was the following: The film which is ‘plastic’ fades which makes the plastic ‘cloudier’ which takes longer for the signal/ray from the VLT meter to go through thus thinking that it is “darker” than what it is. It is like the plastic headlights of a car…the brightness of your lights dims as the plastic becomes cloudier due to the light not being able to get out.
            The engineer who told me this could have been wrong or I could have misunderstood what he told me.

          3. You originally stated “The tint could have been legal when it was installed originally and it could have been legal when it was sold four years ago. The tint is now six to ten years old and they do fade (making the darker thus illegal) according to TintCentercom website”.

            Based upon your new statement, the original statement was misleading.

          4. Because the best government money can buy permitted the car manufacturers to stop making headlights out of GLASS and allowed PLASTIC, which gets cloudy.

            Remember when the idiots in the govt banned halogen headlamps? Rationale was that they’d allow you to see farther, which would permit you to SPEED. Idiots. Now, just about all vehicles have halogens.

            For a long time, fog lamps couldn’t be turned on w/o the low beams’ being on also. Rationale was to preclude people from driving only with fog lamps, which the idiots in govt said was dangerous. This rule was obviously implemented by some toad who NEVER did a real day’s work in his life, and certainly knew NOTHING about the workings of auto lighting. Picture a snow storm. Picture the flakes falling in front of you. Picture the diagonal cuts up to the right from the lamps – they light up the flakes and you can’t see through them. Picture the fog lamps’ only being on. The lamps are mounted LOW and the beams are FLAT. The ice crystals scatter the light much farther than it would go absent the snow, so you see much better with fog lamps in snow and fog than you do with low beams. Of course, it took until recently for the idiots in the govt to change the regulation to allow the manufacturers to de-couple the fog lamps from the low beams. Many still have not. [I did mine over 30 years ago. I didn’t care what the stupid rules were; I wanted to be able to see well enough to avoid a crash.] So, the fog lamps don’t really serve their intended purpose; they only light up the sides a bit more than low beams. This not so much in view of the newer low beams, which have been engineered with better lenses than previously.

            Wonderful govt standards-setters…… This tint nonsense is merely a money-maker for such fiefdoms as the doormat where we wipe the dog-doo from our shoes before entering Manhattan….

          5. What do mean by “halogens”? Nearly all lighting uses halogens, including common bulbs and high-intensity discharge systems.

            And plastics don’t necessarily cost less than glass. They’re a lot easier to shape and weigh less. As well as impact resistant. It makes it easier to use capsule bulbs. There’s nothing illegal about big ol glass headlamps, but the last time I replaced an H6054 was a huge pain.

          6. Quartz-iodides, for one, as opposed to the old sealed-beams. Not nearly all lighting uses halogens. Tail lamps, side lamps, etc are old incandescents, or now going to LEDs. Some new headlamps are a newer technology, Xenon High Intensity Discharge. Even newer are LEDs, but they are the most expensive now.

            No big deal on replacing a halogen bulb. Remove the headlamp door, rotate the ring holding the headlamp and remove ring, unplug the bulb, tweak the two spring wires holding the bulb, remove, replace, and reassemble

            The point is that plastic is cheaper; that’s why they bought the rule permitting them, but it’s not necessarily better overall. Glass doesn’t get cloudy. After all, isn’t the idea is to have good lighting without fade? You can treat the outside of the plastic with chemicals to make them more clear, but some plastic headlamp assemblies can’t be disassembled for easy treatment of the insides.

          7. And yes. Iodine happens to be a halogen. Even modern sealed beams contain halogens as part of the gases. HIDs contain a small amount of halogens for faster startup. You seemed to be using “halogen” interchangeably with “HID”, which is confusing.

            As far as removing a bulb, they’re all different. The 9006 bulbs I’ve replaced don’t have a retention clip; it was all friction and the connector is exposed. Now I’ve had some crazy times trying to install an H1. First time I tried I banged the thing so hard that the filiment broke.

    4. “Why did he wait so long?”

      That’s the laches argument. It’s not statute of limitations. It’s basically an equitable defense that says the other person waited too long to the other party’s (the dealership) detriment. But I don’t think it would fly here, because the cost of removing the tint and then retinting is probably the same or close to the same as when he bought the car. So they wouldn’t sustain MORE damages because he waited, and that’s really all that matters under laches.

    5. Factory tinting is typically present directly in the glass and can’t be removed.

      I did get my windshield replaced by insurance. Insurance wouldn’t pay for OEM, but did pay for an equivalent Pilkington windshield. It had a slight tint like the factory glass, but it was slightly green instead of a smoke tint.

      1. Several years, someone hit my car and parts had to be replaced. I told the body shops to quote OEM parts. The insurance company told me that I had to use non-OEM parts. I asked if my rate was based upon OEM parts or non-OEM parts…show me in my policy that I must take non-OEM parts…they paid for OEM parts.

        1. That’s fine with body work, but a lot of policies have reduced deductibles for windshield damage. I took a rock thrown from another vehicle’s tires.

          I probably need to get my current windshield replaced, although I’m not sure what the terms of the policy are. I’d really like one that matches the other windows.

          1. In AZ, crack windshield is the state pastime with all of the construction going on, the desert landscape; etc. There are windshield replacement companies that advertise that they have OEM windshields.

  17. The OP stated in the article: “In fact, Florida’s tint law hasn’t changed since 1991.”

    I went to the International Window Film Association website. They have a page. wwwiwfacom/Portals/0/PDFDocs/Law_Charts/Window_Tint_State_Law_Chart_2014pdf
    , that list the tint requirementsregulations per state. This document was last updated 5/15/2014.

    This document stated that AL enacted their regulations or their last update occurred in 1996. Florida enacted or last updated their regulations in 2005. If this is correct, the OP is wrong that Florida has not changed their tint law since 1991.

    Also, this document states that Alabama has a 3% tolerance. The OP stated that his windows had a 19% ‘rating’ and the regulation in AL is 20%. Is the 3% tolerance is plus or minus 3% (17% – 23%) or 0.6% (3% x 20%)? Maybe that is how he avoided the ticket in AL.

  18. The OP stated in the article: “In fact, Florida’s tint law hasn’t changed since 1991.”

    I went to the International Window Film Association website. They have a page. wwwiwfacom/Portals/0/PDFDocs/Law_Charts/Window_Tint_State_Law_Chart_2014pdf
    , that list the tint requirementsregulations per state. This document was last updated 5/15/2014.

    This document stated that AL enacted their regulations or their last update occurred in 1996. Florida enacted or last updated their regulations in 2005. If this is correct, the OP is wrong that Florida has not changed their tint law since 1991.

    Also, this document states that Alabama has a 3% tolerance. The OP stated that his windows had a 19% ‘rating’ and the regulation in AL is 20%. Is the 3% tolerance is plus or minus 3% (17% – 23%) or 0.6% (3% x 20%)? Maybe that is how he avoided the ticket in AL.

    1. I’m going to guess it’s to account for gauge error (ie the tint meters aren’t that accurate so they set the legal standard to the point that falls outside the error built into the gauge).

      1. Do the readers realize that the tint on the car is 6 to 10 years old depending upon when the original owner of the car put the tint on the car (which is usually when the car is purchased…our vehicle has factory tinted windows which is for privacy and has no UV protection so the dealer wanted to sell us a $ 189 tint package which we declined).

        According to TintCentercom:

        Under intense and constant sunlight in southern areas, bad quality dyed window film can begin to show color fading within mere months. Your standard hybrid type film will see you out for about 5 years, and the most high-end metallized sputtered or deposition window film lasts for double that to 10 years, and sometimes longer.

        The tint could have been legal when it was installed originally and it could have been legal when it was sold four years ago. It could have been illegal when the OP was pulled over in Alabama.

  19. If the car were new, I would side with Benjamin. It sounds like, but nobody stated that it was an after market tint. Since it as a used car, it was purchased as is with whatever warranty came with the certified car. An excuse that Benjamin was not aware of the depth of tinting is his fault. Ignorance of the law?

    1. It may or may not be reasonable to expect him to ask/challenge at the time of purchase. Nonetheless, the dealer sold it to him with “illegal” tinting. That is the mitigating factor IMO.

      Personally, I’m not comfortable buying a used car with the pre-condition that I have to ask about every suspicious item.

      1. The tint could have been legal when it was installed originally and it could have been legal when it was sold four years ago. The tint is now six to ten years old and they do fade (making the darker thus illegal) according to TintCentercom website.

          1. Instead of the plastic becoming clearer when it fades, it becomes darker…like headlights on your car.

          2. The way that it was explained to me was the following: The film which is ‘plastic’ fades which makes the plastic ‘cloudier’ which takes longer for the signal/ray from the VLT meter to go through thus thinking that it is “darker” than what it is. It is like the plastic headlights of a car…the brightness of your lights dims as the plastic becomes cloudier due to the light not being able to get out.

          3. Understood. As you may have seen elsewhere here, I contacted three local shops and posed the “meter” question to them. All said the meter would show “lighter” after fading.

          4. I have seen tests in labs…showing how light, x-rays, etc. goes through materials…clearer the material the faster it goes through, returns, etc.

          5. Films are made of various materials. Some use dye (cheaper) while the best have a metal component and last 10 years. Bottom line: we can discuss until the end of time and not have a clear understanding. I will go with the locals here who say that as tint fades it becomes lighter.

          6. My personal experience tells the opposite. All my cars in the last 15 years were tinted, and all without exception cleared.

          7. Agreed. After checking Tint Center’s website, I couldn’t find any statement comparing fading to lighter/darker. I then googled it and saw nothing but fading = lighter. Finally, I called three local shops and all three confirmed fading = lighter.

          8. The way that it was explained to me was the following: The film which is ‘plastic’ fades which makes the plastic ‘cloudier’ which takes longer for the signal/ray from the VLT meter to go through thus thinking that it is “darker” than what it is. It is like the plastic headlights of a car…the brightness of your lights dims as the plastic becomes cloudier due to the light not being able to get out.

          9. It makes sense. Despite of the tint being clear, the machine wrongly reads it darker, because the plastic is now opaque.

  20. I voted no on this one. First off, I have a certified pre-owned Honda, and window tinting is not on their check list, and the contract states that it is an as-is sale except for what is specified in the warranty. Secondly, FL law (according to the attorney general’s site) also states that if a car is sold as-is, then there is no implied warranty of merchantability, unless specified in the contract and it is up to the buyer to ensure the car is fit. The warranty of merchantability only applies if there is no written contract excluding warranty. It also states that the warranty of merchantability applies only to whether or not the vehicle will drive and has a clean title. And finally, its been 4 years, he bought used tinting, then used it for 4 more years, and now wants the full cost of brand new tinting? If the law was on his side, it would only have to make him whole, meaning he would get the depreciated value of the tinting. And I just refuse to believe that the sole reason the OP chose this car over another was only because of the tint. Its like the OP who wanted a 100% refund because one pool on her cruise ship was closed for 2 days, and she only went on the cruise to use that one specific pool. And all of this over $150? Not to mention, have you ever seen those tint shops that advertise 100% tint, or even “Illegal Tint” in their ads and on their signs. Sorry, but I have no sympathy here.

    ETA: Also, isn’t it always on the buyer of a used car to get it inspected? I’ve gotten every used car inspected, I even had an independent mechanic find 3 issues in my Certified Honda, that the dealer then agreed to fix.

      1. All valid points but one wonders that if a car has a defect that results in a ticket, whether it’s really “driveable.”

        Technically, those Chevy Cobalts with the bad ignition switches were “driveable” too but that isn’t stopping people from suing them….

    1. I just refuse to believe that the sole reason the OP chose this car over another was only because of the tint. Its like the OP who wanted a 100% refund because one pool on her cruise ship was closed for 2 days, and she only went on the cruise to use that one specific pool.

      Where does the OP state it was the “sole” reason? In fact he lists at least 4 reasons:

      “it was certified, which means it came with a Honda extended warranty[1]. It had tinted windows[2] and it was offered at a fair price[3] by a no-haggle dealership with a great reputation[4].”

      Maybe the OP himself isn’t sure which car he would have bought if not for the tinted windows. Why does it matter?

      And where does he ask to return the vehicle for a 100% refund?

      Depreciation is a reasonable point, but when was he even offered reimbursement for depreciated value and when did he refuse such an offer?

      1. The OP States:

        Holler Honda advertised a car with window tint prominently featured; I
        liked that it kept the car cooler and I liked the way the car looked
        with the tint. Though I had been looking at several different vehicles,
        the tint was a distinguishing feature of this particular car.

        I never said he asked fro a 100% refund, I said he reminded me of that case.

        He wasn’t offered depreciation, he was offered a 100% remove free of charge, which is what they would have done at the time of purchase. In my opinion that is a far better deal than depreciation. However, the OP not only wants to old tint removed free of charge, he wants brand new tint added also free of charge.

        1. Yes, it was “a distinguishing feature”. Where does he assert it was the “sole reason” — and more importantly — why does it even matter?

          Clearly the tint is important to him — he didn’t accept the “far better deal” because he wants tinted windows.

          I fail to see the analogy with the other case.

          1. based upon cars’ website and other financial websites, the average car tint adds $ 50 to the value of the car unless it was one of those $ 800 to $ 1,000 special tint job which I don’t think that this was.
            The tint on the windows was important to the OP but the tint added little value to the car.

            Using your logic, if the lie-flat seat was not working in my First Class seat on a 10-hour flight evening (i.e. 6:00 PM) from LAX to LHR before the start of the flight and was non-operable the entire flight and there wasn’t another FC seat available, the airline should give me a free FC ticket because the ONLY reason why I purchased the ticket on that airline was because of its lie-flat bed since I wanted to have a nice sleep (I usually sleep 6 to 8 hours on these long haul flights). In their TV ads and printed & digital ads, they promote these beds as an experience of flying in their FC.

            Do you think that the airline will give me another FC ticket at no cost for another flight? No…you will be lucky to get $ 200 in airline’s funny money. The airline will respond back stating that they are sorry but the lie-flat bed seat adds no value to their flights which contradicts their marketing campaign. Many if not most of the readers of this blog will say that the airline got me from point a to point b…the non-operating lie-flat bed is not an issue.

            Using your logic, they should give me a free ticket.

            The lie-flat bed in FC not working is a what-if but we were on a flight in Business Class where the lie-flat beds were working but the IFE, the lights and seat’s power outlet (i.e. for the laptop) were not working (not working for the whole plane). I had a RFP to complete on my laptop but I couldn’t work on it since there were no lights and power. My wife and son were planning to watch movies so that they won’t sleep during the flight (it was a morning flight arriving at night at our destination). They slept…I watched DVDs on my laptop…they were up for the whole night…I work the first day of our vacation and they slept the whole day. The airline gave us $ 100 in funny money telling us that having lights on to work in your seat; watching movies, being able to read a book; etc. was NOT important feature of their BC cabin which contradicted their marketingbranding on their website.

          2. The OP is not asking for a refund or for a free car. He is asking to be reimbursed for re-tinting. He wants to be made whole for the $50 (or $800 or whatever).

            If your lie-flat seat was not working, then an appropriate remedy might be accommodation on the next flight plus some sort of compensation for the inconvenience. (Apples and oranges).

          3. The OP is asking for money…refund or reimbursement…it is the same…he wants money for the 6 to 10 year old tint.
            It will be like to going to a restaurant…ordering a steak to medium well done…then eat the steak completely…then complain about it and want a new steak.

          4. The OP asked for legal tinted windows, which is what he thought he originally paid for. Since his request was rejected and he ultimately spent money out of pocket, at this point it takes money to make him whole.

            You agreed that the tint is worth something, whether it’s $50 or $800 or whatever it is.

            There is no indication that the tint needed to be redone if not for the legal issue / ticket. You could argue depreciation, but the dealership isn’t making that argument and isn’t offering depreciated value.

            Irrelevant analogies don’t add anything to the discussion.

  21. My colleague just got his windows tinted via an online coupon (won’t mention the firm due to triggering moderation). Cost a hundred bucks flat and he’s happy with it.

    That being said, the LW has a point: Cars that are sold should be street legal. Period. Unless it can be shown that the illegal tint could have been caused from normal wear and tear (darkening) due to age, the liability is on the dealership. I haven’t seen our resident pro-bono comment, but that is probably the case. Now it may get complicated due to statute of limitations, change of ownership of the dealership, etc.

  22. So is the LW now a resident of Alabama and is the car registered there? If the answer is no, then the ticket should never have been issued.

    Excerpt of Alabama law:

    Section 32-5C-3

    Exceptions.

    The provisions of Section 32-5C-2 shall not apply to any of the following:

    (7) Any motor vehicle not registered in this state.

    (Acts 1996, No. 96-534, p. 746, §3.)

  23. There are many arguments being tossed out here that I don’t think matter in this case. First: the dealer’s statement to the BBB. What a bucket of bull! I can’t believe the BBB actually accepted that as an excuse: it’s too hard to keep up with constantly changing laws? When you sell cars intended to be driven, it’s your JOB to keep up with the laws and sell products that comply. When the laws change, it’s your responsibility to keep up. The customer’s job is to pay you to provide the product, not to make sure you follow the law. The customer’s due diligence is to make sure you’re a reputable dealer and can be trusted, as well as to make sure s/he understands any legal documents s/he must sign in order to make the purchase. If the dealer is selling something that doesn’t comply with the law when he sells it, the responsibility is with the dealer.

    The customer isn’t being unreasonable by asking for the offending part to be replaced, particularly something that’s so inexpensive for the dealer to cover. I do think four years is a long time to have to guarantee a product is free from defects, but this isn’t a defect. It was a deliberate sale of a product the dealer should have known was illegal. Whether it appears on their 1-million point inspection list is immaterial. The buyer is simply asking the dealer to replace an offending part with a proper one.

    Would your opinion change if he discovered four years later that the catalytic converter was disconnected when he bought the car? Chances are the buyer doesn’t even know what one looks like or where it should be, let alone the signs that it’s not doing its job. He only knows the dealer is selling him a car that should be legal to operate on the street. The only thing that’s changed in this scenario is that we’ve moved the problem from the optional to the necessary. Instead of a feature that improves the driver experience, we have an emission control device that helps cut down on smog. Environment, not safety. Does it make it okay that no one pointed it out to the owner for four years? Maybe he could continue to drive it and hope he doesn’t get another ticket?

    $200 for a proper tint is pocket change for a successful dealership. It may also not mean much to many people who travel frequently, but it may well represent a week’s groceries for the family or a month’s medicines for the buyer in this case. By digging in their heels like this, they’ve really made themselves look petty. The only reason I don’t particularly wonder about them trotting out their lawyer is that it was probably about dealing with the media.

    Without getting into everything else I saw, I wanted to point out that legally, SoBeSparky is right in reply to Arizona. Sales contracts are an important determinant of the obligations between buyer and seller, but contract stipulations sometimes run contrary to the law. When that happens, the law takes precedence. “As-is” is a good example of this. “As-is” just means you’re not getting a regular warranty. It doesn’t mean the dealer can sell you a lemon (we have lemon laws for a reason). It doesn’t mean the dealer can sell you a vehicle he knows will have an engine fire 10 minutes after you leave the lot. And it doesn’t mean he can sell you a vehicle with a detached catalytic converter. It also means that if the dealer and the buyer agree that the vehicle comes with window tint, the implied (but legal) requirement remains that the vehicle must be legal to operate on the streets. And whether you find out four days or four years from now, everyone agreed you were buying a vehicle with tinted windows; they don’t get to take it away now or charge extra for it just because you didn’t catch them quickly enough. Implied warranties are generally covered in state or federal consumer law. If there’s a time limit on discovery, the expiration date can be found in the case law somewhere. It’s not going to be in the sales contract.

  24. A few things are going on here, 1 if the guy was driving it for 4 years in Florida and never got pulled over, the tint is probably just barely illegal there. If he bought the car 4 years ago that’s not a reasonable time frame for the dealer to fix something. The buyer could have also checked as to whether the tint was legal or not at the time of purchase, he even stated he noticed the windows were exceptionally dark. If it was a used car, he doesn’t give the year, the dealer may not have that big of a profit margin and not be inclined to spend hundreds of extra dollars retinting windows.

    If he bought the car, and got pulled over that same week, in state, I think the dealer would have responded differently.

    1. “if the guy was driving it for 4 years in Florida and never got pulled over, the tint is probably just barely illegal there”? That’s assuming law enforcement noticed and cared. The indication here by both the OP and Chris is that it was and is illegal. Thus the discussion here as to whether the dealer is liable because they should not have sold it in a condition that was not “street legal”.

      1. So what is the legal % of tint in Florida then?

        Pretty sure the car was sold as-is and/or the statute of limitations for the dealer would have surely expired after 4 years. Plus many dealers sell cars that are not street legal for shows, racing and other purposes.

        1. It’s in Chris’s article: 28% for passenger windows, 15% for rear window. Once again, the debate here largely centers around legality of sale, where a statute of limitations does not apply (was sold in that condition). And yes, dealers can/do sell for shows, racing, etc., but those would be obvious and segregated for that purpose. The ability to sell to an ordinary consumer that which could be ticketed immediately is what’s in question. In Florida, the As-Is sale may or may not apply.

  25. I live in a country where a large bunch of cars are tinted, and a lot of them have illegal tint. But of course all of them have the dealer stamp stating the tint is legal!

    Here, in the same situation, the cop will ask him to choose between to remove the tint at sigh or have the car towed.

    And if I didn’t read wrongly some comments, only the drivers window was illegal. Therefore, it is only necessary to change this tint, and it might cost $50, instead of $200 for the full service.

    Trivia: The tinted glass here has a safety connotation, more than temperature comfort. With darker windows, no one can see inside the car (some people also tint the windshield, which is completely illegal), therefore the expected bad guy doesn’t know it inside is only a single woman or 4 linemen (unfortunately it is a kind of common robbery at red lights, in big cities). It can backfire because if it is a robber is inside the car, nobody can see neither…

    1. I personally hate tinted windows when I can’t see the driver. I ride my bike a lot and a lot and can generally tell if a car is going to run a stop sign (When they have one and I don’t) by looking at their face. Also, when we make eye contact, I know they saw me and they tend to follow the stop sign and wait, rather then going through while I am in the intersection. When I just see a black window, I have no idea what they are going to do and can’t make eye contact. I consider that a safety issue. I have also had several instance where at a 4 way stop, I stop and a car stop, and often times a driver will waive me through. If I dont’ get waived at a 4 way, I wait until the car goes. I have had cars with black tinted window sit there, and I sit, and then they honk, and in some cases roll their window down and curse or yell at me for not going when they waived me. If I can’t see them waiving me, I don’t assume they are waiving me.

  26. For those of you who may be interested in more information about VLT (Visible Light Transmission), a 14-minute video can be found here: http://www(.)youtube(.)com/watch?v=MSwyNuxyjcc. The short version is that meters can vary a few percentage points and if the number is close to the legal limit, that may make a difference. In this case, however, it was not close.

  27. They are in the auto business and should make a point of knowing what is legal and what is not. When laws change, they should make a point of knowing it. If they sold the vehicle with illegal tinting, then they should have advised the customer of this and had them sign a waiver. Since it appears they did not do this, they should fix it at their expense and make sure they ensure their vehicles are compliant.

    One of the cars we own is a Honda and we will not buy a Honda again because of the way they and their dealers do business.

  28. I saw the update at 3PM and did some searches to see what I could find (shown below by date, oldest to newest):

    2008.06.24 (Tint Shop recommendation by employee)
    http://acurazine(.)com/forums/first-generation-tsx-discussion-2004-2008-124/any-good-tint-shop-orlando-679330/
    2010.03.27 (Vehicle Sold with tint on it)
    http://www(.)edmunds(.)com/dealerships/Florida/Orlando/HollerHonda/fullsales-165462.html
    2014.01.01 (Tinting after purchase)
    http://www(.)yelp(.)com/biz/holler-honda-winter-park
    2014.07.15 (Appears to be the OP – dshhc ?)
    http://www(.)dealerrater(.)com/dealer/Holler-Honda-review-6634/

    Of course, I cannot definitively state what all this means, and it is the internet, but if these posts are all accurate, the following seem reasonable to me:

    – Holler Honda does window tinting
    – It seems they have sold another car with window tinting (2010)

    I’m cautiously skeptical that they would provide tinting services and not sell cars with tinted windows. On the other hand, the dealer calls the tinting on the OP’s car “alleged”, so they may never have seen it. And it seems the OP has no receipt showing it.

  29. Come on, Holler . You’re making yourselves look bad. What if, instead of the window tint, the problem was a too-loud exhaust system, but the owner got away with it for four years? Would you still say that your only responsibility is to remove it, but not replace it with one that’s legal? Mr. Schwartz may be the biggest jerk in the South, but is digging your heels your heels in really the best move to make here? By your own admission, you ” normally remove the tint before selling a car and (Mr. Schwartz’ car) slipped through the cracks.” That being said, surely you can see that your offer to have the tint removed but not replaced is not enough. Take a deep breath and do the right thing.

    1. A clarification, Grant. The OP “claims” that the dealer admitted that it fell through the cracks. In its 3PM response, Holler denies that they sold it with tint (“the dealership did not install the tinting”) and only that “We do not, as a practice, sell any vehicle with tinting”.

      So it’s another he-said-they-said scenario. Seems like a bridge to nowhere now to me …

  30. Argue the fine points of who tinted the glass, how long ago and what certified means all you want. He bought a car from a reputable dealership. The tint wasn’t legal. They should replace the tint. They are the experts in cars. Chris’ example of a no-op radio is right on; if it doesn’t work you don’t remove it, you FIX IT. I burst out laughing when I read that Chris bought his car at the same dealership. Stay tuned, this should be very interesting!!!

  31. Seems to me that car dealerships have a responsibility to their customers to make sure that the cars can be legally driven when they leave the lot. This one didn’t and is doing everything it can to refuse to accept that responsibility.

    This is not to say that the customer doesn’t have the same responsibility, but with a few exceptions, I wouldn’t expect a car customer to have the same degree of knowledge about what is and isn’t legal on a car that a car dealership should have, so it’s harder (for me at least) to hold them responsible. I’m not a fan of “If I’d known about X, of course I wouldn’t have Y” but can the writer be reasonably expected to know in this case about the law? It seems pretty arcane.

  32. This could turn into he said they said. The second to last paragraph basically says “prove the windows were tinted when we sold the car”

  33. So if the dealership had said at the time of Benjamins purchase that the tint was too dark, they simply would have removed the tint and then Benjamin wouldn’t have purchased the car – am I correct in that assumption?

    I agree that the car should have had whatever was done to make the car street legal before he purchased, which would have been to simply remove the tint. They in all likelihood wouldn’t have re-tinted the windows.

    If in fact the tint was mentioned as an accessory that was included in the purchase, the dealer should have re-tinted it. Is that shown as an accessory on the bill of sale?

    You would think that as a good will gesture for them “missing it” they would have re-tinted the windows for him, as it is such a minimal cost since they did admit they missed it. Perhaps if he had brought the car right to them before he changed the tint himself, the outcome may have been different had they seen how dark the tint was.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: