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Used Cars and Recalls: What You Should Know

Every day, it seems, there are vehicle recalls. Since 2011 we have been urging consumers to check for recalls before purchasing a used vehicle. Used car dealers continue to pass-off dangerous, recalled cars on consumers. It is against the law for car dealers to sell or lease recalled new cars unless they have been fixed, but this is not the case with used cars. Even though federal law bars car dealers from selling new cars that are being recalled, that does not apply to used cars.
This week, consumer groups have petitioned the Federal Trade Commission to investigate CarMax for deceptive advertising by claiming every vehicle CarMax sells passes a rigorous 125-point inspection. CarMax does not check for nor arrange for repairs to vehicles with an open recall. Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a California-based consumer advocacy nonprofit that led the petition, said “Every car under recall should be fixed before it goes on the road and people get hurt and CarMax is playing recalled-used-car roulette with its customers’ lives.”
In 2012, over 40 million consumers bought used cars, and many lease or rent used vehicles. Auto dealers are lobbying to be able to rent defective, recalled cars that have not been repaired. Car dealers want out of recalled rentals bill.
Here, at the Terrell • Hogan personal injury and wrongful death law firm, we have repeatedly warned about this danger. Under federal law manufacturers are required to recall defective vehicles. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has recommended that NHTSA seek legislative authority to notify used car buyers. However, a heavily lobbied Congress has failed to address the dangers posed by unsafe, recalled used cars being sold without recall repairs being made. NADA (National Association of Auto Dealers) has consistently fought against this legislation and so far, they are winning that battle. Used Car Recall Legislation Should Focus on Timely Repairs.
The CBS Early Show investigated sales of recalled, used cars and found unfixed, recalled cars on lots across the country.  So did Good Morning America.
Before you buy a used car, be sure to check the vehicle identification number (VIN) for open recalls. Carfax provides a free link to do this.  If there is a recall on your vehicle, the defects have to be repaired at no cost to you, provided the work is done by an authorized dealership for that make of vehicle. Also, be sure to check for open recalls on your current vehicle if you bought it used. If there is a recall that has not been corrected, contact an authorized dealer about getting it repaired.
Car accidents happen in our area every day, and many crashes and collisions result in major personal injury and death. At Terrell • Hogan, helping families recover from accidents and personal injury is what we do every day, but it’s best to find ways to try to help prevent injury and loss before they happen. So, until there’s a solution to this worrisome problem, Terrell • Hogan will continue to repeat information about recalls of defective and dangerous products to help keep you informed and safe.


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About The Author

Picture of Wayne Hogan

Wayne Hogan

Wayne Hogan, a Jacksonville native, has been with the firm since 1977. He graduated from Florida State University, where he received both his bachelor’s and J.D. degrees. He specializes in all areas of personal injury law. In addition to participating in many professional associations, he and his wife, Pat, are also actively involved in the community.