Connecticut and Massachusetts Senators Richard Blumenthal and Edward Markey have reintroduced the “Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act,” which would force dealerships to fix any outstanding safety recalls before selling a used vehicle.
In the past, dealers could legally sell used cars that had been recalled without necessarily performing the repair. As a matter of fact, General Motors, along with other carmakers, was called out by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the past for selling certified pre-owned vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls.
America’s largest second-hand car dealer network, CarMax, has been accused of selling cars, truck, and SUVs affected by recalls in an unrepaired state. The company advertised its vehicles saying they went through a “125+ Point Inspection”, and included a small message at the bottom of TV commercials that said, “Some CarMax vehicles are subject to open safety recalls.”
The FTC found that the tiny print appeared for only three seconds during an entire commercial, which is clearly not enough time for anyone to notice it, let alone understand its purpose.
Hence, the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act introduced by Blumenthal and Markey aims to protect consumers that purchase a used vehicle by requiring car dealers to fix any outstanding safety recalls prior to selling a used vehicle. But dealer associations claim dealers shouldn’t be forced to make recall repairs because some recalls can take months while waiting for parts. They argue that the proposed Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act would allegedly leave a dealer stuck with holding a used car that could otherwise be sold and moved off the lot. Dealers argue that it would make more sense to inform consumers about any unrepaired recalls instead.
The proposed repair act takes this into account, and states that if a recall solution is not available at the time of the car’s sale, a dealer would not be violating the law. Hence, when consumers set out to buy a second-hand Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac product from any dealership – even an official GM one – the dealer would need to inform the customer of all safety recall repairs that were performed on the vehicle before delivering the vehicle.