20-288. Application for license; license requirements; expiration of license; bond.

(a) A new motor vehicle dealer, motor vehicle sales representative, manufacturer, factory branch, factory representative, distributor, distributor branch, distributor representative, or wholesaler may obtain a license by filing an application with the Division. An application must be on a form provided by the Division and contain the information required by the Division. An application for a license must be accompanied by the required fee and by an application for a dealer license plate.

(a1) A used motor vehicle dealer may obtain a license by filing an application, as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section, and providing the following:

(1) The required fee.

(2) Proof that the applicant, within the last 12 months, has completed a 12-hour licensing course approved by the Division if the applicant is seeking an initial license and a six-hour course approved by the Division if the applicant is seeking a renewal license. The requirements of this subdivision do not apply to a used motor vehicle dealer the primary business of which is the sale of salvage vehicles on behalf of insurers or to a manufactured home dealer licensed under G.S. 143-143.11 who complies with the continuing education requirements of G.S. 143-143.11B. The requirement of this subdivision does not apply to persons age 62 or older as of July 1, 2002, who are seeking a renewal license. This subdivision also does not apply to an applicant who holds a license as a new motor vehicle dealer as defined in G.S. 20-286(13) and operates from an established showroom 20 miles or less from the established showroom for which the applicant seeks a used motor vehicle dealer license. An applicant who also holds a license as a new motor vehicle dealer may designate a representative to complete the licensing course required by this subdivision.

(3) If the applicant is an individual, proof that the applicant is at least 18 years of age and proof that all salespersons employed by the dealer are at least 18 years of age.

(4) The application for a dealer license plate.

(b) The Division shall require in such application, or otherwise, information relating to matters set forth in G.S. 20-294 as grounds for the refusing of licenses, and to other pertinent matters commensurate with the safeguarding of the public interest, all of which shall be considered by the Division in determining the fitness of the applicant to engage in the business for which he seeks a license.

(b1) The Division shall require in such license application and each application for renewal of license a certification that the applicant is familiar with the North Carolina Motor Vehicle Dealers and Manufacturers Licensing Law and with other North Carolina laws governing the conduct and operation of the business for which the license or license renewal is sought and that the applicant shall comply with the provisions of these laws, with the provisions of Article 12 of Chapter 20 of the General Statutes, and with other lawful regulations of the Division.

(c) All licenses that are granted shall be for a period of one year unless sooner revoked or suspended. The Division shall vary the expiration dates of all licenses that are granted so that an equal number of licenses expire at the end of each month, quarter, or other period consisting of one or more months to coincide with G.S. 20-79(c).

(d) To obtain a license as a wholesaler, an applicant who intends to sell or distribute self-propelled vehicles must have an established office in this State, and an applicant who intends to sell or distribute only trailers or semitrailers of more than 2,500 pounds unloaded weight must have a place of business in this State where the records required under this Article are kept.

To obtain a license as a motor vehicle dealer, an applicant who intends to deal in self-propelled vehicles must have an established salesroom in this State, and an applicant who intends to deal in only trailers or semitrailers of more than 2,500 pounds unloaded weight must have a place of business in this State where the records required under this Article are kept.

An applicant for a license as a manufacturer, a factory branch, a distributor, a distributor branch, a wholesaler, or a motor vehicle dealer must have a separate license for each established office, established salesroom, or other place of business in this State. An application for any of these licenses shall include a list of the applicant's places of business in this State.

(e) Each applicant approved by the Division for license as a motor vehicle dealer, manufacturer, factory branch, distributor, distributor branch, or wholesaler shall furnish a corporate surety bond or cash bond or fixed value equivalent of the bond. The amount of the bond for an applicant for a motor vehicle dealer's license is fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for one established salesroom of the applicant and twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each of the applicant's additional established salesrooms. The amount of the bond for other applicants required to furnish a bond is fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) for one place of business of the applicant and twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each of the applicant's additional places of business.

A corporate surety bond shall be approved by the Commissioner as to form and shall be conditioned that the obligor will faithfully conform to and abide by the provisions of this Article and Article 15. A cash bond or fixed value equivalent thereof shall be approved by the Commissioner as to form and terms of deposits as will secure the ultimate beneficiaries of the bond; and such bond shall not be available for delivery to any person contrary to the rules of the Commissioner. Any purchaser of a motor vehicle, including a motor vehicle dealer, who shall have suffered any loss or damage by the failure of any license holder subject to this subsection to deliver free and clear title to any vehicle purchased from a license holder or any other act of a license holder subject to this subsection that constitutes a violation of this Article or Article 15 of this Chapter shall have the right to institute an action to recover against the license holder and the surety. Every license holder against whom an action is instituted shall notify the Commissioner of the action within 10 days after served with process. Except as provided by G.S. 20-288(f) and (g), a corporate surety bond shall remain in force and effect and may not be canceled by the surety unless the bonded person stops engaging in business or the person's license is denied, suspended, or revoked under G.S. 20-294. That cancellation may be had only upon 30 days' written notice to the Commissioner and shall not affect any liability incurred or accrued prior to the termination of such 30-day period. This subsection does not apply to a license holder who deals only in trailers having an empty weight of 4,000 pounds or less. This subsection does not apply to manufacturers of, or dealers in, mobile or manufactured homes who furnish a corporate surety bond, cash bond, or fixed value equivalent thereof, pursuant to G.S. 143-143.12.

(f) A corporate surety bond furnished pursuant to this section or renewal thereof may also be canceled by the surety prior to the next premium anniversary date without the prior written consent of the license holder for the following reasons:

(1) Nonpayment of premium in accordance with the terms for issuance of the surety bond; or

(2) An act or omission by the license holder or his representative that constitutes substantial and material misrepresentation or nondisclosure of a material fact in obtaining the surety bond or renewing the bond.

Any cancellation permitted by this subsection is not effective unless written notice of cancellation has been delivered or mailed to the license holder and to the Commissioner not less than 30 days before the proposed effective date of cancellation. The notice must be given or mailed by certified mail to the license holder at its last known address. The notice must state the reason for cancellation. Cancellation for nonpayment of premium is not effective if the amount due is paid before the effective date set forth in the notice of cancellation. Cancellation of the surety shall not affect any liability incurred or accrued prior to the termination of the 30-day notice period.

(g) A corporate surety may refuse to renew a surety bond furnished pursuant to this section by giving or mailing written notice of nonrenewal to the license holder and to the Commissioner not less than 30 days prior to the premium anniversary date of the surety bond. The notice must be given or mailed by certified mail to the license holder at its last known address. Nonrenewal of the surety bond shall not affect any liability incurred or accrued prior to the premium anniversary date of the surety bond. (1955, c. 1243, s. 4; 1975, c. 716, s. 5; 1977, c. 560, s. 2; 1979, c. 254; 1981, c. 952, s. 3; 1985, c. 262; 1991, c. 495, s. 1; c. 662, s. 3; 1993, c. 440, s. 3; 1997-429, s. 1; 2001-345, s. 2; 2001-492, s. 4; 2003-254, s. 2; 2004-167, s. 9; 2004-199, s. 59; 2005-99, s. 2; 2006-105, s. 2.3; 2006-191, s. 1; 2006-259, s. 12; 2011-290, ss. 1, 2.)