Consumer group pushes for better protection for used car buyers / public news service


Consumer advocates are stopping cars with unpatched recall defects from resolving with their new owners.


Federal law prohibits auto dealers from selling new, non-repaired cars, and rental agencies are prohibited from selling or renting them. Now consumer activists want the feds to ban auto dealers from retailing used cars with defective safety recalls.

Used car safety recall repair law Federals will be allowed to fine dealers who sell used cars that haven’t been repaired, even if no one is hurt or damaged.

These cars are time bombs, said Rosemary Chahan, president of the California nonprofit Consumer Organization for Automotive Reliability and Safety.

“In the case of the Takata airbags, they killed dozens of people and injured hundreds more,” Shahan said. “As time goes on, and as people get older, vehicles become more susceptible to this problem.”

Chahan singled out CarMax, the country’s largest used-car retailer, for selling cars with unrepaired security flaws, once they passed a 125-point safety check.

CarMax, in a statement, says they share “vehicle open recall information in-store and online to ensure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase” and say the current repair recall system requires manufacturers to pay for repairs at dealerships, not via independent retailers who They are competitors.

Years ago, Chahan said, her group filed a complaint against CarMax with the Federal Trade Commission, but the FTC has ruled that it can continue to advertise cars as “safe” as long as they disclose.

“It is very disingenuous, especially when they announce that the vehicles have passed the examination,” Shahan said. “How can it pass the check, when it contains uncorrected security invocation defects?”

Shahan encouraged all potential car buyers to check out National Highway Transportation Safety Administration website To see if the car is under recall, and if so, drive away.

The Used Car Safety Recall Reform Act was introduced last year but has yet to receive a hearing or a vote.

Disclosure: The Consumers Foundation for Automotive Safety and Reliability contributes to our fund to report on consumer issues, environmental justice, and social justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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