Pennsylvania motorists and their families are facing a serious new threat. Unscrupulous PA auto dealers are backing a bill to allow them to get away with selling dangerous unrepaired recalled used cars, without getting the FREE safety recall repairs done first.
The bill is opposed by the nation’s leading consumer / auto safety organizations, including:
The Center for Auto Safety
Consumer Federation of America, The Safety Institute, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, Consumer Action, and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
Here’s what can happen when someone is sold an unrepaired recalled car:
“Dad dies saving daughter from icy pond. Car had been recalled for brake problem.”
Republican Rep. James R. Santora agreed to carry HB 1898, at the behest of the car dealers.
If the car dealers get their way in PA, they will be able to fatten their profits by low-balling consumers who trade in cars with unrepaired safety recall defects, then turn around and sell them at top dollar to other consumers — without getting them fixed. All they would have to do to comply with the new law is to slip a copy of the safety recall notice in a stack of papers — instead of making sure the cars are actually safe to drive.
It’s a violation of federal law for car dealers to sell recalled cars as NEW cars. While there isn’t a similar specific federal law to protect used car buyers, many state consumer protection laws may apply. Currently, state laws in PA and the other 49 states prohibit violations of the common law duty of care, or prohibit engaging in unfair or deceptive acts and practices, acting with negligence, or causing a wrongful death. Such laws – which apply to all businesses, including car dealers — carry potentially extremely serious sanctions.
But if the bill passes, car dealers won’t have to worry about being held liable if someone is injured or killed.
If the the bill passes, the biggest beneficiary will be CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars. Research performed by the CARS Foundation, MASSPIRG Education Fund and the Frontier Group found that over 25% of vehicles CarMax offered for sale in 6 locations across the nation had at least one unrepaired safety recall. Many had multiple safety recall defects. One pickup truck CarMax advertised for sale in Massachusetts had 6 unrepaired safety recalls, including two for catching on fire.