Can You Legally Buy a Car on Sunday in Michigan?
I was born and raised in West Michigan but after having spent the last several years living in states like Nebraska and Missouri, I always forget which weird laws belong to which state.
For example, in Nebraska it's illegal for bar owners to sell beer without simultaneously brewing a kettle of soup. In Missouri, adolescents under the age of 21 cannot take out the trash if it contains even one empty alcohol container. I know Michigan is no stranger to bizarre laws, but I thought I'd heard a rumor that it was illegal to buy a car on Sunday-- is that actually true?
No surprise, like many of these weird laws it all started because of the church. Referred to as "Blue Laws" these rules state what you can and can't do on Sundays, including which businesses were allowed to conduct business. This is because most folks were expected to attend church on the Sabbath, a traditional day of rest.
Michigan's blue law regarding Sunday car sales is laid out as follows per the 1953 Michigan Vehicular Code:
It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to engage in the business of buying, selling, trading or exchanging new, used or second-hand motor vehicles or offering to buy, sell, trade or exchange, or participate in the negotiation thereof, or attempt to buy, sell, trade or exchange any motor vehicle or interest therein, or of any written instrument pertaining thereto, on the first day of the week, commonly called Sunday.
In plain English? NO, you can't buy a car on Sunday in Michigan.
Exceptions to the Rule
Despite all the rigidity surrounding this old law, there is one exception to this rule. Counties that have a population of fewer than 130,000 people are in fact allowed to have dealerships open on Sunday. Although, I don't see why that makes a difference!
Terry Burns, executive vice president of the Michigan Automobile Dealers Association tells MLive,
only 2 dealerships around Grand Ledge in Eaton County occasionally open on Sundays
Will the Law Ever Change?
Although Michigan isn't the only state to have a blue law restricting Sunday car sales, I doubt the law will ever change for several reasons. The first one being: the folks working at the dealerships don't want it to!
These car salespersons work long, odd hours and this law actually forces them to take a day off. Says one Michigan Reddit user,
Being the child of someone who worked at a dealership, that blue law was a godsend since Dad would always be home on Sundays after working 50-60 hours a week, 6 days a week.
Another reason the law may never change is because of banks, the Secretary of State, and other auto-lending businesses are typically closed on Sundays. What's the point of being open to customers if their auto loan won't even process until Monday?
Plus, with staffing shortages in the post-pandemic world, it might be tough for dealerships to staff their businesses on weekends anyway.
Do you think Michigan's blue law on Sunday car sales is frivolous or practical?