When you shop at a car dealership, you shouldn’t have to worry that they’re deliberately selling you a deathtrap. But that’s what many unscrupulous new and used car dealers all over America are doing.
Car dealers keep getting caught selling vehicles with deadly safety recall defects, like faulty brakes, loss of steering, catching on fire, sticking accelerator pedals, and exploding Takata airbags that shoot metal shrapnel into the passenger compartment, causing drivers and passengers to lose their eyesight, suffer brain damage, or bleed to death.
Car dealers coast-to-coast are exploiting the widespread misconception that if you shop at a dealership, they must have gotten any deadly safety defects fixed. Otherwise, why pay extra, if the car is no safer than if you bought it from a stranger who posted it on Craig’s List?
Even highly sophisticated consumers, including Members of Congress and reporters who cover the automotive industry, suffer from this mistaken belief that somehow vehicles are safer if they’re on a car dealer’s lot.
That erroneous belief tends to be even stronger when the dealer claims the vehicle was thoroughly inspected, and when the dealer is a major franchised dealership.
U.S. Rep. MarkWayn Mullin, of Oklahoma, a GOP Member of Congress, stated at a Congressional hearing on auto safety that “I understand the responsibility of the driver. But at the same time, if you buy a vehicle new or used, you assume everything’s perfect on it.”
The former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dr. Mark Rosekind, who was testifying at the hearing on behalf of the Obama Administration, agreed.
“For me, there’s a certain trust the comes with buying a used car from a franchised new-car dealer. I feel I’m not going to get an unsafe car. And it’s worth paying a small premium to know that the vehicle has been inspected and that technicians examined the critical items. Most techs, I believe, would not let a used vehicle go out for sale if they wouldn’t put their own family in it.”
Sadly, that trust is terribly misplaced. As many news organizations have reported, and the CARS Foundation and our research partners at U.S.PIRG and the Frontier Group have repeatedly found, both new car dealers and used car dealers routinely fail to get deadly safety recall defects repaired, even though the repairs are free.
A car dealer in Hartford, Connecticut sold a young African-American man who was buying his first car a 2011 Hyundai Sonata SE with an appalling 11 unrepaired safety recalls. The safety defects included: faulty airbags, bad brakes, stalling in traffic, and other life-threatening defects. He fought back and won a favorable decision in arbitration, including a refund and his attorneys fees.
More reports about car dealers who sell unrepaired recalled cars with deadly safety recall defects:
Click here to see CARS’ tips for how to get a good deal on a safe used car without having to deal with professional crooks who put their short-term profits ahead of your safety, and the safety of your family and friends.