C.A.R.S. Activities 2018

Advocating for landmark auto safety legislation
To require Personal Vehicle Sharing Programs like Turo and Getaround to Ensure that safety recall defects are repaired on vehicles offered on their platforms
California Governor Jerry Brown signed landmark auto safety legislation, AB 2873, that will take effect January 1, 2019 (photo from prior bill signing)
CARS played a leading role in gaining passage of first-in-the-nation legislation enacted in California to require Personal Vehicle Sharing Programs like Turo and Getaround, known as the "Airbnb" of the auto world, to ensure that safety recall repairs are performed on vehicles offered on their platforms.

CARS worked closely with the author, Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Palo Alto) and his staff, and the official sponsors of the bill -- Turo and Getaround -- for passage. Safety advocates Cally Houck, whose daughters Raechel and Jacqueline were killed by an unrepaired recalled rented Chrysler PT Cruiser with a faulty steering hose that was prone to leaking and causing a fire, and Alexander Brangman, whose daughter Jewel was killed by an unrepaired recalled rented Honda Civic with an exploding Takata airbag, joined in speaking up in support of the legislation.

"Thanks to the leadership of Assemblymember Low, Turo and GetAround's taking a strong stand for safety, and Governor Brown's foresight in signing this lifesaving measure into law, all California motorists and their families, and others who share the roads, will be significantly safer," said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

People who seek to share their vehicles via PVSP platforms will benefit from the new law, when they learn that their vehicles have unrepaired safety recalls, and that they need to get the recall repairs done at an authorized new car dealership before they can share them. Many times, consumers don't receive the safety recall notices, particularly if they are not the first owner. Or if they do receive the notice in the mail, they may discard it, thinking it's junk mail, or may not realize how important it is to get the repairs done. People who obtain transportation via vehicle-sharing companies will also benefit, by getting safer cars.

News release: New law enacted in California to improve safety of vehicles offered on peer-to-peer ride-sharing platforms like Turo and Getaround
Warning the public about
CarMax's selling dangerous recalled cars
that are at risk of catching on fire

"Fire risk on wheels"
"CarMax puts onus on customers to get defects repaired after purchase"
Sacramento News & Review
By Dylan Svoboda
August 9, 2018
"Four years ago, Angela Davidson bought a used 2010 Dodge Ram from a CarMax in Irvine. Days later, Davidson learned the vehicle had been recalled more than a year prior due to a defect predisposing it to fire. After a quick fix at a local Chrysler dealership, Davidson and her family made their way to Las Vegas.

car rentals at the airport
Angela Davidson's 12-year-old daughter was riding in the back of the Dodge Ram CarMax sold her and her husband, when it caught on fire. Her husband pulled their daughter from the truck just seconds before it exploded into flames.
Halfway through the trip, the car burst into flames. The family escaped, but the fire burned several acres of the Mojave Desert. In spite of Chrysler's faulty repair, Davidson places the bulk of the blame on CarMax for selling her what was supposed to be a "great quality car," according to the company's mission statement.

CarMax's website shows that the company continues to sell used cars that are on official safety recall lists, including for having fire-causing defects, though consumers will only learn this if they look up the cars' VIN numbers on recall sites. CarMax [claims that it] does provide customers with a written disclosure of the defects prior to a car's sale. SN&R found three examples of cars that had been recalled specifically due to a fire risk for sale at CarMax's South Sacramento dealership, among several other recalled cars for sale....

Jason Levine, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety, [argues that] state regulators do have avenues available to them if they want to restrict the sale of defective used automobiles.

'At the state level, there are regulatory provisions that arguably make CarMax's actions with respect to the sale of an unrepaired recalled vehicle in violation of those parts of the code, which range from unfair or deceptive acts or practices and the fact that you can't sell an unsafe car," Levine said. "Not only do we need new laws, but some of the existing authorities can be brought in to reign in CarMax's practices.'

Even if there are laws on the consumer's side, Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, says the used car business is just not an enforcement priority for officials at the moment. Shahan said CarMax's corporate influence and the reluctance from the California DMV, attorney general's office and district attorneys up and down the state have allowed the company to continue selling recalled cars..."

Read more: Sacramento News & Review: "Fire Risk on Wheels"
Warning the American public about hazards posed by Ford
And other manufacturers that fail to provide safe loaner cars

"Many Auto Dealers Routinely Deny Loaner Cars
To Customers Waiting For Fix To Deadly Airbags"
May 8, 2018
By Diana Hembree
"When Robert Torres of La Habra, California, bought a used Mustang from a car dealer in 2014, he didn't expect it to come with a potentially deadly defect.

car rentals at the airport
Ford and some other manufacturers refuse to provide safe loaner cars to customers stuck with cars equipped with deadly Takata airbags
In May 2016, Ford issued a safety recall for the Takata airbag on the driver's side, which had been linked to serious injuries and deaths. When Torres took in his car for repairs, the dealer made changes to the airbag but told him replacement parts were unavailable. In July 2016, Ford issued another recall, this time for the defective Takata airbag on the passenger side. In December 2017, Ford sent a notice to Torres warning him not to let anyone sit in the passenger seat until it was repaired.

A Ford dealer promised Torres a loaner car, but despite repeated calls and letters from Torres and others to the dealer and to Ford Motor Company, it never materialized.

Torres says that he called the dealer regularly to ask when parts would be ready, but he was told there were no parts and that he just had to wait....

'Outrageous' is how Rosemary Shahan, the founder and president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), describes Ford's response to Torres and other consumers seeking loaner cars.

Discussing vehicle owners waiting for replacement airbag parts, Shahan said, 'Automakers should provide all of their customers with safe loaner cars and ensure that they are free from safety recall defects,' she says. 'They should also ensure that the car owners don't run into barriers in getting safe, no-cost alternative transportation.' "

Read more: Forbes: "Many Dealers Routinely Deny Loaner Cars to Customers Waiting for Fix to Deadly Airbags"
CARS Joins Forces with California Treasurer John Chiang
to Challenge Wells Fargo to Clean Up its Act
CARS President joins California Treasurer John Chiang, other consumer group leaders, and members of the Carpenter's Union to Confront Wells Fargo over its illegal practices, releases new report
The President of CARS joined forces with California Treasurer John Chiang, other consumer group leaders, and members of the Carpenter's Union to confront Wells Fargo over its illegal practices, at the crooked bank's headquarters in San Francisco. CARS released a new report, based on research conducted by Level Playing Field and commissioned by the CARS Foundation, that found that of the more than 4.5 million victims of Wells Fargo's illegal activities, only 2 consumers won their cases in arbitration against the crooked bank last year. One consumer was in California,and the other in Connecticut. They were awarded a total of $17,232.

"No wonder Wells Fargo thinks that crime pays," said Rosemary Shahan, President of CARS. "the fact that just two consumers found any justice in arbitration, out of at least 4.5 million consumers Wells Fargo harmed, shows how crooked corporations exploit forced arbitration to steal from their victims. Consumers not bound by these rip-off clauses often get back thousands of dollars while those stuck in arbitration get nothing -- and could end up owing even more money to the bank."

Treasurer Chiang called for CEO Tim Sloan to resign, and for longtime Wells Fargo board member John Baker to be removed from Wells Fargo's Board of Directors.

Read more: California Treasurer John Chiang Calls on Wells Fargo CEO to Step Down

Level Playing Field report: Wells Fargo and Consumer Arbitration
Providing Expert Testimony, Warning about the Lack
of Safety Standards for Autonomous Vehicles
CARS President Invited to Testify on Panel with Representatives
from General Motors (Cruise), Waymo (Google) and Lyft
Public News Service
January 11, 2018
CARS President Rosemary Shahan testifying about the lack of safety standards for autonomous vehicles, before the California Senate Committee on Transportation.
CARS President Rosemary Shahan provided expert testimony before a public informational hearing conducted by the California Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing, at the Committee's invitation, regarding autonomous vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges.

Senator Beale (D-San Jose) chaired the hearing, which was also attended by Assemblymember Jim Frazier (D-Fairfield), Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation, and Senators Skinner, Glazer, Wieckowski, Dodd, Gaines, and Allen.

Auto manufacturers and tech companies like Google, plus Uber and other ride-sharing companies and their investors are pushing in Congress and in Sacramento to roll back safety standards, so they can sell unlimited numbers of semi-autonomous and driverless cars without having to meet even the most basic safety standards, such as being able to be driven safely in construction zones, or all kinds of weather.

Representatives of CARS, General Motors (Cruise), Waymo (Google), and Lyft testify before California Senate Committee on Transportation about the future of autonomous vehicles.
CARS warned about the hazards posed by allowing autonomous vehicles to be sold to consumers, before ANY federal or state safety standards are in place. Currently, there are no safety standards specifically for autonomous vehicles -- not even against their being hacked by cyber-criminals and weaponized to carry explosives or drugs. The FBI and other cyber-security experts have also been raising alarms about the vulnerability of autonomous vehicles to being hacked.

Read CARS testimony

Read more:

Consumer watchdog: Speed not safety is California senate's concern in robot car hearing

Street blog: Autonomous vehicles are coming and California isn't ready
Warning Consumers about Car Dealers Selling Dangerous Recalled Cars,
especially in Tennessee, which now has the worst law in the nation

"Groups Warn that Tennessee Could Become Dumping Ground
for Dangerous Cars"
Public News Service
January 11, 2018
Stephanie Erdman was blinded in one eye by an exploding Takata airbag in a recalled Honda. Other victims have bled to death. Tennessee's new law makes it easier for car dealers to get away with selling recalled used cars with this life-threatening safety defect.
"NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There's one more reason to read the fine print when buying your next car in Tennessee.

A new law in the Volunteer State allows used car dealers to sell vehicles that are under a safety recall, as long as the buyer signs a disclosure form.

The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Act is the first and only one of its kind in the country – after similar bills failed in four other states.

Andy Spears, executive director of Tennessee Citizen Action, is concerned about the potential impact on consumers.

"Dealers are incentivized to send their cars they know are dangerous to Tennessee, because if you're making a car deal and you can convince someone to sign this form, and there's no requirement that this has to be done at any time in the process," Spears states. "After you've already agreed to everything and you've worked out the financing – and then, they hand you a form and say, 'Yes, sign this form' – and most people don't read those documents."

Spears says his isn't the only group concerned that the state will become a dumping ground for dealers in other states to send cars they're unable to sell.

He cites the Takata airbag recall as one example of serious potential problems. It affects more than 1 million cars...."

Read full report: Public News Service: Groups Warn that Tennessee Could Become Dumping Ground for Dangerous Cars

Read more, including how to avoid being victimized by dealers who sell unsafe, defective recalled cars
"Law Could Turn Tennessee into Dumping Ground for Dangerous Cars"
News Channel 5
January 10, 2018
By: Sarah McCarthy
"NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A new law could put countless dangerous cars on Tennessee roads by allowing dealers to easily sell cars under safety recall, according to consumer advocates.

'It basically makes Tennessee a dumping ground for unsafe cars that will kill people,' said Andy Spears with Tennessee Citizen Action. 'And now there's an incentive for dealers in other states to ship their dangerous cars here to our dealers, because now we have a way to get rid of those cars.'

The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Act allows used car dealers to sell vehicles under safety recall as long as the buyer signs a disclosure form. But advocates like Spears argue a majority of buyers will overlook that sheet of paper, which will likely be lumped in with the dozens of other forms a person is asked to sign while buying a car.
News Channel 5: "Law Could Turn Tennessee into Dumping Ground for Dangerous Cars"
Spears said the law reverses important protections for car buyers and puts every driver on the road at risk....

'This is the first state in the nation to pass a law this dangerous,' Spear said. 'These types of laws were denied in California, Maryland, and Virginia. So other states have seen this law but rejected it when they found out what the law does.'

Spears said the only way for Tennessee consumers to protect themselves now is to do your own research. Run the VIN number of any car you want to buy through www.safercar.gov.

If you find a dealer willing to sell you a car under safety recall, Spears said to walk away from the business altogether."

Read more, including how to avoid being victimized by dealers who sell unsafe, defective recalled cars
Tennessee Law Fuels Used-Car Recall Fight
Automotive News
December 27, 2017
by Eric Kulisch
"Proponents of a new Tennessee law regulating sales of recalled vehicles call it a step forward in closing what some call the used-car loophole. Consumer and safety groups call it a sham that's written not to protect consumers from dangerous cars, but to shield dealers from lawsuits.

At issue is whether disclosure of an open recall offers the consumer enough protection against a safety defect.

Under federal law, new vehicles with open recalls cannot be sold. But the ban doesn't extend to used vehicles. That gap has frustrated efforts by manufacturers and safety regulators to improve recall repair rates, as vehicles under recall get harder to track as they pass from owner to owner. Efforts in Congress to close the loophole sputtered amid opposition from dealer groups, as did an effort by AutoNation to withhold recalled used cars from the retail market.

The Tennessee measure, which takes effect Jan. 1 and was supported by the state's dealer lobby, doesn't bar the sale of used vehicles with pending recalls. Rather, it requires dealers to check a recall database before selling a vehicle and either perform the recall repair or notify the customer of any defect. Customers would have to sign a form acknowledging they were notified. (Vehicles subject to a manufacturer's do-not-drive order would have to be repaired before sale.) ....

Yet safety advocates say the policy is a cop-out. They warn that the disclose-and-sell rule sets a precedent for other states to roll back safeguards for used-vehicle purchases, which are governed in many states by consumer protection laws. Rather than increase transparency, they say, the law attempts to shield dealerships from responsibility if a vehicle sold with a recall is involved in an accident.

'They are trying to legalize fraud,' Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, told Automotive News. 'It's written to protect unscrupulous car dealers.'

While there's no federal law barring sales of used vehicles under recall, used-car buyers are indirectly protected by state and federal laws against unfair and deceptive trade practices. The Tennessee law is designed to nullify those types of protections, Steven Taterka, a former assistant state attorney general who represents consumers in auto fraud cases, said during a conference call for reporters."

Read full report: Automotive News, Tennessee Law Fuels Used-Car Recall Fight

Read more, including how to avoid being victimized by dealers who sell unsafe, defective recalled cars
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CarMax sells cars with
deadly safety recall defects.
ABC's 20/20 went undercover and caught
CarMax up to their sneaky tricks.
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Buyer Beware! Auto dealers use
forced arbitration
to get away with cheating customers
Even when car dealers flagrantly violate consumer protection laws, you may not be able to get justice. That's because almost 100% of car dealers stick "forced arbitration" clauses into their contracts. If they cheat you, and you try to take them to court, they can just laugh at you. That's because they can get your case kicked into arbitration -- a secret, rigged process that favors big, corrupt lawbreakers. The dealer often gets to choose the arbitration firm, and even the arbitrator who hears your case. Unlike judges, arbitrators are perfectly free to ignore the law.

Dealers claim that arbitration is quick. But Jon Perz in San Diego had to wait over 8 years in "arbitration limbo" before he finally got justice, after Mossy Toyota sold him an unsafe car. CARS produced a short video exposing what happened. More than 1.3 million people have watched our video on YouTube:
See the billboard CARS displayed
right next to Mossy Toyota's car lot,
and read more about how Jon finally won.

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