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Sunday Sales Could Benefit Western Illinois Car Dealers

Shankar S.
Flickr Creative Commons

Illinois lawmakers are considering ending the state’s ban on Sunday automobile sales.

State Senator Jim Oberweis has introduced legislation that would repeal the 1983 law.

The Federal Trade Commission has also voiced support for the proposal saying that it's passage would "enhance competition and provide significant benefits for Illinois consumers." The FTC has long opposed bans on Sunday sales of automobiles and have had staff formerly testify in favor of repealing the law.

According to the FTC's letter, "The principal harms to competition from such laws likely include: (1) increased consumer search costs that impede comparison shopping; (2) a market that is unresponsive to consumer preferences for hours of operation; and (3) diminished competition among dealers for both automobile sales and a range of related services. Collectively, these effects may lead to higher prices and reduced output for sales of new and used automobiles and related automobile services than would otherwise be the case."

Jamie Neill is the general sales manager of Shottenkirk car dealership in Quincy. He says there are pros and cons to ending the Sunday ban.

"One of the definite positives for us is people coming in from out of state such as Iowa and a tremendous amount of our sales, of course, are to Missouri customers, which is just across the river from us," said Neill. "There's drawbacks also, less time with our families and of course with it being Sunday there's certainly a delicate religious aspect to it."

Those who violate the ban risk a $1,500 fine in Illinois.

Currently more than a dozen states prohibit automobile sales on Sunday including Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

Emily Boyer is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.