A recent study by safety advocates found that more than 25 percent of vehicles sold at CarMax had unrepaired safety recalls. The study used about 1,700 cars listed for sale at eight different CarMax locations in three states. Some cars contained recalled Takata airbags, which have been linked to fatal malfunctions in accidents.
The study was conducted by Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation, the Center for Auto Safety, and the MASSPIRG Education Fund. It is illegal to sell new cars with an unrepaired safety recall, but the practice is not banned for used cars. The safety groups are demanding that state lawmakers crack down on dealerships that continue to sell such cars to the unsuspecting public.
However, only franchised new-car dealers can complete recall repairs. CarMax is an independent dealership and says each vehicle listed on its website also has a link so that customers can search for any open recalls affecting that vehicle. Additionally, before signing sales paperwork, the company says that vehicle recall information is reviewed with customers and they must also sign a form that acknowledges they have received National Highway and Transport Safety Association information on recalls before a sale can be completed.
In 2015, a similar study was conducted using cars from five CarMax locations. The new study finds that sales of vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls have more than doubled since the 2015 study. Of the nearly 1,700 vehicles in the new study, 461 had at least one unrepaired safety defect under recall. Of these defects, 41 involved a recall for which a repair is no longer available, and 45 vehicles contained Takata airbags.
In the event of a car accident, Takata airbags are at risk of exploding in a crash. They have been linked to at least 18 fatalities worldwide and more than 100 injuries. There have been multiple recalls for the defective product, which led the company to file for bankruptcy in June.
Congressional Democrats have not been able to pass legislation banning the practice of selling used cars with open recalls. Auto dealers have aggressively lobbied against a ban, saying it would hurt used car values and raise dealership costs unfairly. In New York, the Attorney General went after more than 100 auto dealers who sold used cars with unrepaired safety recalls. The dealers must pay a $1,000 fine and disclose open recalls to their future customers.
The Federal Trade Commission was also able to achieve settlements with two auto dealers and General Motors Co. in a case that alleged the companies advertised thoroughly inspected vehicles that turned out to have open recalls. The Center for Auto Safety’s executive director stated that disclosing recall status to consumers is not good enough and called the practice of calling an unrepaired recalled car “safe” deceptive.
Manufacturers have a responsibility to bring safe products to the market and those with known defects should not be sold to unsuspecting consumers. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a defective product, consult with a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at AlpernSchubert P.C. to learn about your legal options. Our experienced team will fight to bring the negligent party to justice and recover compensation for your injuries.
Call us today at 412-765-1888 to schedule a no-obligation, free evaluation of your case, or contact us online. From our offices in Pittsburgh, we serve clients throughout Western Pennsylvania, including those in Washington, New Castle, and Allegheny County, Lawrence County, and Washington County.