This year promises to be a record year for recalls. General Motors, on its own, has recalled more than 40-million cars in the first six months of this year alone, and promises to recall more in the months ahead. That is especially troubling news for buyers of used cars.
The country’s largest seller of used cars is under the spotlight after a number of consumer groups petitioned the federal administration to take action against CarMax. These groups take objection to the company’s promise that all the cars that it sells are inspected regularly to ensure that defective cars are not sold to consumers. A coalition of eleven consumer groups has petitioned the Federal Trade Commission concerning this matter.
According to the petition, it is deceptive for the dealer to claim its vehicles have passed inspections while the company has not taken even the most basic steps to identify whether the car was previously involved in a safety recall, and whether safety defects have been addressed. It appears that CarMax does not fix recalls while continuing to claim that its cars have been inspected for safety. The Center for Auto Safety Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Consumer Law Center claims that CarMax’s promises are false.
The petition is complicated because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is not currently authorized to require dealers of used cars like CarMax to make repairs to defective cars. The consumer groups, therefore, ask in their petition that current federal advertising laws be changed, so that CarMax is not able to make promises that it’s cars are being inspected for safety defects.
A regular used car buyer who is not aware of recall notices is likely to believe that the car he is buying from CarMax has already undergone stringent safety inspections. According to the petition, CarMax actually lists out several components that it supposedly inspects, without making it clear that those components could actually be defective, and could have been the reason for an earlier recall.
The General Motors recall this year involves cars that were manufactured many years ago. These are cars that likely already have been sold and landed on the used car market. Some of the defects in these cars that the company identified include very serious defects that have resulted in fatalities. The biggest of these recalls involves 2.6 million cars with a defective ignition switch. The company has admitted that the problem is linked to 13 fatalities in car accidents.
With so many older cars ending up on recall lists, CarMax must come clean, and must make it clear that it does not necessarily fix every single recalled car on its used-car lot.
The Indiana personal injury lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson Kennedy LLP represent persons injured in car accidents across Indiana.