Buyer Beware: Auto dealers selling unsafe, recalled cars — without fixing them first

One of the reasons many car buyers purchase used cars from an auto dealer is to get a car that they think is safer. But are they really safe? Not necessarily. Each year, millions of used cars are sold, without the safety recall work being done. Many are being sold by so-called “reputable” auto dealers.

The harsh reality — dealers are prohibited from selling NEW cars that are under a safety recall, but are exploiting a loophole in federal law that allows them to sell USED cars that are under a safety recall, without fixing them first.

Their excuse? They don’t want to bother to take them out of service as loaner cars, or to another dealer, for FREE repairs. After all, that might cut into their profits or be inconvenient.

Never mind the fact they are putting their customers’ lives in jeopardy. And also creating a hazard for other motorists who share the road with the unsafe, recalled cars. This excuse is especially lame, since the repairs are FREE.¬† By federal¬† law, the auto manufacturers must pay for the repairs, in full.

According to a report issued by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, car dealers’ sales of unrepaired, recalled cars is a serious problem that urgently needs to be addressed.

In the wake of the Toyota recall scandal, and in reaction to the GAO report, Congress attempted to require auto dealers to fix recalled used cars before selling them to the public. But under pressure from the powerful auto dealer lobby, that provision was stripped from the national auto safety bill that finally passed.

Tragically, unsafe, recalled cars continue to put unsuspecting car buyers and their families at risk. One investigation by highly respected consumer reporter Joe Ducey, Channel 15 in Arizona found dozens of recalled cars for sale on the lots of major auto dealers:

Cars with unrepaired safety recall issues sold from Valley car lots

Don’t fall prey to this dangerous scam. Be aware you can’t rely on auto dealers not to sell or rent an unsafe, recalled car. In fact, the powerful auto dealer lobby is actively pushing in Congress to keep on putting their customers’ lives in jeopardy. So far, they have prevailed.

Were you sold an unsafe, recalled car by a dealer? If so, CARS wants to hear from you. The only way this reckless policy will stop is when people like you speak up and the truth gets out.

Contact CARS

Meanwhile, here are 11 top tips from CARS, for how to buy a safe, reliable used car — without even having to step foot on a car dealer’s lot:

How to buy a safe, reliable used car — without getting ripped off