Several consumer safety groups are asking the Federal Trade Commission
(FTC) to investigate CarMax’s sale of unfixed recalled cars. Their
petition to the FTC alleges that the leading used car seller misleads
consumers by touting a rigorous, “125+ point inspection,”
but yet failing to check the vehicles’ recall status.
According to the
petition, “It is inherently deceptive for an auto dealer to represent that
its vehicles have passed a rigorous inspection, while failing to take
even the most basic step of checking the vehicle’s safety recall
status in order to identify known safety defects that have triggered a
federal safety recall, and ensuring that the safety recall repairs have
been performed, prior to selling the vehicle to a consumer.”
As we have previously stated on this San Diego Injury blog, federal laws
regarding recalled vehicles only apply to the sale of new cars. Therefore,
the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) cannot
require sellers of used cars to remedy defects prior to sale.
Legislation is currently pending in California that would prohibit car
dealers from selling used vehicles with unfixed safety recalls. However,
its passage remains uncertain.
To protect consumers, the groups urge the FTC to use its authority over
deceptive advertising to:
- Obtain VIN-specific information regarding the safety recall status of vehicles
CarMax has already sold to the public, and release that information to
- Notify the owners of vehicles sold by CarMax that had safety recalls pending
at the time of sale; and
- Enjoin CarMax from engaging in such irresponsible and reckless practices
in the future.
The FTC has not yet indicated if it plans to take action. We will be closely
following this issue and will provide updates as they become available.