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Is CarMax Selling Defective Vehicles in California?

Consumer groups are calling on California’s attorney general to investigate whether CarMax is selling recalled vehicles that have not been repaired. The groups maintain that the sales practice directly conflicts with the used car dealer’s advertising claims that all vehicles undergo extensive “quality” inspections.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the California Public Interest Research Group and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation visited two CarMax locations in California and recorded the vehicle identification numbers of the vehicles for sale. They then used the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s recall database to determine whether a vehicle was recalled and if it had been fixed.

As San Diego injury lawyers, the results are concerning. The consumer groups found that 10 percent of the 455 vehicles at the Oxnard CarMax had outstanding recalls. At the Sacramento store, 9 percent of the 386 vehicles had unrepaired recalls. Some vehicles had more than one known safety defect, which ranged from faulty airbags to doors that could spring open while driving.

“All of these safety defects pose serious risks to CarMax customers and the general public when the defective cars are driven on California roads,” the California Public Interest Research Group and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation stated in their report. They called on the attorney general and the California Department of Motor Vehicles to investigate whether the used car seller is violating any laws.

As we have previously discussed on this San Diego Injury Blog, auto dealers are prohibited from selling new vehicles that are subject to a safety recall; however, there is not a similar restriction for used cars. California also does not bar used car dealers from selling unrepaired vehicles.

In this case, the consumer groups maintain that CarMax’s practice of selling “certified” vehicles with known defects could violate a variety of California laws and motor vehicle regulations. Given the potential injury risk associated with driving a defective vehicle, we will be closely following the investigation and will post updates as they become available.

If you or someone you love has been seriously injured by a dangerous or defective motor vehicle, don’t hesitate to contacta San Diego product liability attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.