C.A.R.S. in the News

CARS has generated and contributed to many award-winning news reports, and is often contacted by highly respected news media seeking expert commentary and contacts among consumers impacted by harmful auto industry practices, or their surviving family members. Among the news organizations who have published reports where CARS' president has provided expert information, leads, and perspective are:

New York Times, the Associated Press, Consumer Reports, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, Bloomberg, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, Sacramento Bee, ABC's 20/20, NBC's Today Show, CBS This Morning, CNN, Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit Free Press, San Diego Union-Tribune, Vox Media, Politico, Checkbook Magazine, Parade Magazine, Reader's Digest, National Public Radio, and numerous other news organizations.
"Active recalls on hundreds of thousands of Tennessee vehicles"
"News4 Investigates shows you what you need to do before buying
your next car"
WVLT (NBC) Nashville, TN
March 21, 2022
Reporting by Lindsay Bramson
"NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Tens of millions of vehicles are recalled and taken off the roads every year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

News4 Investigates found car dealerships in Tennessee can sell many vehicles with active recalls, and they don't have to tell you.

Jason Turnage bought a Dodge Ram from a Chrysler dealer, that had an unrepaired safety recall defect that could cause a crash.
News4 Investigates found out what you need to know before you buy your next car, and its advice Tim Rice wants others to take after his experience last year.

'It's a beautiful, beautiful car,' Rice, who bought his dream car in 2021, a black Mercedes Benz S 580 sedan, said. Rice couldn't wait to get his his hands on the car.

'Finding these cars is really, really difficult,' he said.

Just weeks after he brought it home, Rice received a letter in the mail alerting him to a safety recall related to the engine that could result in a crash.

'I have a wife and grandchildren. I don't want to be in a car I don't feel is safe,' Rice said....

'Tennessee is one of two states that has the worst auto safety laws in the country when it comes to vehicle safety recall defects,' Rosemary Shahan, President of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), said.

Shahan said in Tennessee dealerships just have to put it somewhere in the documents that there is an unrepaired safety recall.

In most states the law requires dealerships to fix cars before they leave the lot.

Currently, just in Nashville, more than 600,000 vehicles have open recalls on them, according to Carfax.

Here's what you need to do so you don't end up with a car with an active recall.

Every car has a VIN on the inside of the car door. Even if you're looking at cars online, you can take that VIN and go to the NHTSA website and find out for free if it has any recalls.

'Insist that, whether you're buying from a dealer on a private party that they get that safety recall fixed before you put your family in that car,' Shahan said."

Watch news report: WVLT-TV Nashville: "Active recalls on hundreds of thousands of Tennessee vehicles"
 


"GM's used-car megastore is poised to get a leg up on
the competition. Here's how"
Detroit Free Press
By Jamie L. LaReau
March 16, 2022
 
"General Motors is set to raise the bar in the world of used-car sales when it launches its CarBravo site this spring.

GM spokesman Sabin Blake told the Detroit Free Press on Tuesday that the automaker will require its dealers to check for open recalls on a used car listed on CarBravo, not once but twice. If there is an open recall, the dealer cannot sell the vehicle until it is repaired.

'It is an unwavering CarBravo requirement for dealers to check recall status at least twice to make sure customers do not get into vehicles with open recalls,' said Blake.

To buyers, that might sound like a no-brainer, but there is no federal law prohibiting dealers or private parties from selling a used vehicle with an open recall on it...

Other giant used-car platforms such as CarMax and Carvana sell used cars with open recalls, but say they do disclose such recalls to potential buyers.

'It is unique and it's about time,' said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group. 'It's great that it's GM because they're huge and they can really set the standard and I hope they really tout this and let people know that they're screening out these unsafe cars and their competition isn't. I hope it gives them a competitive advantage.'
 

Upcoming rollout

GM introduced CarBravo in January. The website will list all the used-car inventory across GM's participating dealerships as well as used cars owned by GM and its finance arm, GM Financial. CarBravo will include used vehicles of any brand too.

GM will be enrolling its 3,800 U.S. dealers in CarBravo over the next couple of months before launching the site in a regional rollout late in the second quarter.

Blake said CarBravo will require dealers to check a vehicle's recall status prior to listing the vehicle on the site. The CarBravo program will accept only vehicles without an open recall.

But, said Blake, it is possible a new recall could be issued between the time CarBravo lists a vehicle and the time a customer looks to buy it.

'To guard against that, GM dealers are required to again check for open recalls — and repair them if one turns up — before delivery to the customer,' Blake said."
 
....
 
'There is no federal law that prohibits dealers, who are not rental companies, from selling unrepaired used cars,' Shahan said. 'We're hoping to close that loophole.' "

Read More: Detroit Free Press, by Jamie LaReau: "GM's used-car megastore is poised to get a leg up on the competition. Here's how"
 
 
Why auto lenders suddenly face more legal risk
American Banker
by Polo Rocha
February 9, 2022
 
A recent action by the Federal Trade Commission may prompt more lawsuits against banks - and bigger payouts to plaintiffs - in situations where consumers have been defrauded by auto dealers.

"The FTC's move involves an obscure consumer protection rule from the 1970s, but its effects are likely to be substantial. It could result in lenders being on the hook more often for defrauded borrowers' legal costs, particularly in cases where the car dealership has shut down and customers have nowhere else to turn for a refund....

Consumer advocates hope the FTC's opinion and the California Supreme Court case will push auto lenders to vet the dealers they work with more closely.

Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said lenders should be ensuring that used-car dealers are not selling vehicles that are listed as totaled in a federal database.

'If they see a pattern there of dealers selling these totaled vehicles, that's a red flag,' Shahan said."

Read More: American Banker: Why auto lenders suddenly face more legal risk
 
 
"Battle Shaping Up over CA Lemon Law"
Public News Service
January 24, 2022
by Suzanne Potter, Producer
 
"Consumer advocates are speaking out against a proposed ballot initiative that would reform California's so-called 'Lemon Law.'

Current law allows people who have been defrauded or sold a defective product to sue for damages plus attorney's fees. The ballot initiative would limit the plaintiff's attorneys to 20% of the amount recovered.

Longtime activist Rosemary Shahan is the founder and president Sacramento-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. She said that change would hobble the victims but says nothing about the amount big companies can spend to defend the suits.

'It would make it practically impossible for consumers to get an attorney and fight back in court when they've been victimized by a really unsafe product or fraud,' said Shahan.

Read more: Public News Service: Battle Shaping Up over California Lemon Law
 
 
"Auto safety groups file appeal over recall regulations"
CarComplaints.com
By David R. Wood
November 29, 2021
 
"Three auto safety and advocacy groups allege the federal government is allowing dangerous recalled vehicles to flood the roadways.

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), the Center for Auto Safety and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) filed notice of appeal to challenge the Federal Trade Commission's consent orders with General Motors and dealership chains CarMax, Lithia, Koons, Asbury and West-Herr.

According to the appeal, the companies use deceptive advertising to sell used cars that have been recalled but not repaired.

All three groups assert the consent orders give GM and the dealer chains the right to use advertising language that fools consumers into believing the vehicles are safe to operate.

The recalled used and "certified" vehicles may be advertised as safe and repaired for safety, or an advertisement may say the vehicle underwent a "150-point inspection" for safety.

GM and the dealers are allowed to use such words as long as the advertisements state the vehicles "may" have an "open recall." The words, open recall, means the vehicle has been recalled for safety defects but hasn't been repaired.

A vehicle advertised as "certified" or having passed a "125-point inspection" can also allegedly cost a buyer an additional $1,200 even though the car may have unrepaired safety defects.

Full report: Politico "Auto safety groups file appeal over recall regulations"
 
 
"After infrastructure passage, spotlight swings fully to
Build Back Better"
"USED CARS, FEATURING EXPLODING AIRBAGS"
Politico
November 8, 2021
by Tanya Snyder
 
"Consumer groups suing the FTC to get the agency to stop allowing the [deceptive advertising and] sale of unsafe used cars moved their suit to an appeals court last week. Cars with defective airbags and brakes, faulty software and other safety problems can't be sold new but can still be [advertised as 'safe,' 'repaired for safety,' having passed a "bumper-to-bumper inspection,"] and sold for top dollar [as 'certified'] used, even with open safety recalls, 'thanks to FTC consent orders with GM and some mega-car dealers,' say U.S. PIRG, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety and the Center for Auto Safety. The groups sued the FTC over the consent orders in 2017, but two months ago a U.S. District Court judge ruled that the groups lacked standing. Last week, they filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit."

Full report: Politico "After infrastructure passage, spotlight swings fully to Build Back Better"
 
 
"2nd driver killed by air bag inflator from Tennessee's ARC"
by Tom Krisher
Associated Press
October 13, 2021
Detroit - A second person has been killed by an exploding air bag inflator made by a Tennessee company that has been under investigation by a federal agency for more than six years without any resolution.

On Wednesday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration posted recall documents filed by General Motors that revealed the second death, the driver of a 2015 Chevrolet Traverse SUV with an ARC inflator that blew apart, spewing shrapnel. No details were given about where and when the death occurred.

NHTSA has said that ARC Automotive of Knoxville has manufactured about 8 million inflators used nationwide in vehicles made by General Motors, Fiat Chrysler (now Stellantis), Kia and Hyundai.

Some auto safety advocates say the investigation has dragged on for too long, and is an example of deadly consequences of an understaffed and underfunded agency.

"NHTSA should have been all over this along time ago," said Rosemary Shahan, president of California-based Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety. "There's just no denying that it's a (safety) defect."

The second death should not have happened, and vehicles with faulty ARC inflators should have been recalled faster, Shahan said.

"This is what keeps me awake at night, knowing that a lot of times they wait until there's a fatality or terrible injury before they act," she said.

The agency, Shahan said, is "grossly underfunded," but it still should have sought recalls of the ARC inflators. She said historically NHTSA has taken little action during Republican administrations but has ramped up safety efforts when Democrats control the White House.

Read more: "2nd driver killed by air bag inflator from Tennessee's ARC"
 

"Consumers are receiving billions of car-warranty calls. Ignore them"
by David Lazarus
Los Angeles Times
September 21, 2021
"It's hard to feel lonely working from home when you get called every day about your car warranty.

You know what I'm talking about. The robocall - it's always a recording - warns that your vehicle warranty is expired or about to expire. By pressing "one" on your keypad, you can fix things by signing up for an extended warranty.

Spoiler alert: That extended warranty is either nonexistent or not worth the paper it's printed on.

'Usually those so-called warranties aren't really warranties,' said Rosemary Shahan, president of the Sacramento-based advocacy group Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

'They're cleverly worded service contracts that are obscenely overpriced and full of loopholes and exclusions,' she told me. RoboKiller, maker of a robocall-blocking app, estimated in a recent report that Americans will receive about 13 billion car-warranty calls this year, making the calls the single most ubiquitous phone scam....

If you get one of these calls, the Federal Trade Commission says, "slam on the brakes."

"This is an illegal robocall and likely a scam," the agency warns. "The companies behind this type of robocall are not with your car dealer or manufacturer, and the 'extended warranty' they're trying to sell you is actually a service contract that often sells for hundreds or thousands of dollars."

Read more: Los Angeles Times: "Consumers are receiving billions of car-warranty calls. Ignore them"
 


Extended Warranties for Cars Are 'Fraught With Peril for Consumers'
While reputable options exist, the robocalls are almost certainly scams, an industry group warns. And for consumers who feel they have been ripped off, there is no guarantee anyone will help."
New York Times
June 25, 2021
By Christopher Jensen
 
"Nat Pope has spent much of his academic career studying extended car warranties, such as those seen on television and pushed in robocalls promising to pay for costly repairs. But here's what he still doesn't know: Who can help if there's a problem with the warranty?

It's usually best to save for repairs, instead of paying for sham service contracts that are riddled with loopholes, hidden in the fine print.
'I wouldn't even know where I would really expect to get some satisfaction,' said Dr. Pope, an associate professor of risk management and insurance at the University of North Texas. 'The regulation is fragmented. There is nothing national. Regulators have other fish to fry.'

That's a problem because such contracts — properly called vehicle service contracts — are 'fraught with peril for consumers, especially economically vulnerable people who can't afford to have their car break down,' said Rosemary Shahan, the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

'Many consumers are complaining of high pressure, misrepresentations, contracts not being fulfilled, refunds not provided and overall just poor customer service,' said Michelle L. Corey, the president of the Better Business Bureau of Greater St. Louis. Ms. Corey said the B.B.B. seemed to receive fewer complaints about policies sold by dealers and automakers....

While business is increasing, so are complaints, according to the B.B.B. In 2019, the Better Business Bureau in the United States and Canada got about 6,700 complaints about companies offering service contracts. Last year, that increased 21 percent to almost 8,200.

That may not seem like a large number nationwide, but a small number of complaints is not necessarily a gauge of consumer satisfaction, said Amy J. Schmitz, a law professor at the University of Missouri, where she specializes in consumer protection. A 2004 survey by the Federal Trade Commission found that only about 8 percent of unhappy consumers filed complaints with state or federal officials.

Read more: New York Times: "Extended Warranties for Cars Are 'Fraught with Peril for Consumers'"
 


Citing Spotlight on America report, leaders ask White House to stop recalled car use, sale
WCTI 13 Spotlight on America
April 15, 2021
16 consumer advocacy groups and watchdogs signed on to a letter sent to President Biden in April. Image credit: ABC News Channel 12
"WASHINGTON (SBG) — New calls for action on an issue Spotlight on America has been investigating for years, now going directly to the White House. More than a dozen organizations are urging President Biden to stop the federal government from continuing a dangerous practice: the use and sale of recalled cars that haven't been fixed. Their letter cites a Spotlight on America investigation that found more than 25,000 recalled cars in the government fleet.

It's a major development in the effort to fix a system that puts tens of thousands of federal workers across the nation, and all of us on the road, at risk. A letter sent to President Joe Biden, signed by 16 consumer advocacy groups and watchdogs, urges him to direct all departments and agencies to end the "unsafe practice of federal employees using unrepaired recalled vehicles." It also calls for a ban on the sale of those cars to the public when the government is done with them....

That letter cites, and links to Spotlight on America's comprehensive investigation into recalled cars in the government fleet, which found at least 25,000 vehicles with potentially dangerous, unfixed problems....

The dangerous and potentially deadly problems we found in the federal fleet included everything from defective airbags to flaws that could stall engines and issues that could spark engine fires."

Read more / watch video: WCTI 13 Spotlight on America: Leaders ask White House to stop use / sale of recalled cars
 


"What's Up With Twitter's Content Moderation Policies?"
"The silencing of one consumer advocate reflects real confusion with how speech
is handled on one of our leading platforms of communications infrastructure."
The American Prospect
by David Dayen
March 5, 2021
 
These Tweets from the CARS Twitter account were blocked by Twitter, even though they never provided an answer as to what language in those Tweets violated any of Twitter's policies.
"Rosemary Shahan is a consumer advocate who's been at the forefront of auto policy for nearly four decades. Through her organization Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), she has run successful campaigns to make vehicles safer and prevent used-car company rip-offs. A board member at the Consumer Federation of America, Shahan was responsible for California's first auto lemon law (which became a national model), the federal airbag mandate, and much more.

Right now, Shahan is locked out of her Twitter account, over a claim of 'abusive behavior.' That behavior involves two tweets where Shahan is engaging in the same public advocacy she has been doing her entire career. The tweets specifically target AutoNation, a Fortune 500 used-car chain with over 300 locations nationwide. AutoNation never asked Twitter to take the tweets down, a spokesperson confirmed to the Prospect. So what motivated Twitter's action?

When Donald Trump had his tweets slapped with warning labels and then had his account suspended over false claims about the presidential election, liberals cheered. Finally, Twitter was instituting its terms of service and shutting down contrary behavior. But speech policing is inherently subjective, and in the case of Shahan and others, it can be used as a weapon to block advocates from using essential communications platforms to speak out against political and economic power.

Read more at American Prospect: "What's Up With Twitter's Content Moderation Policies?"
 
 
"Buying a Salvage or Rebuilt Title Car is Almost Never a Good Idea.
Here's Why"
NextAdvisor (In partnership with TIME)
by Alex Gailey
February 22, 2021
"If you're browsing online for used cars, you might come across one that's going for a really low price. The car looks perfect in all the photos, and it only has a few thousand miles. So, what's the catch?

Beware of rebuilt wrecks. Some auto dealers advertise them as so-called "certified" vehicles and charge extra for these hazardous clunkers.
When you look closer, you might notice that it's listed as a rebuilt or salvage title car.

Vehicles with rebuilt or salvage titles initially cost much less than vehicles with clean titles, but it's essential to understand all the risks associated with them before buying one....

Regardless of how a car earned its salvage title, the conclusion is the same: salvaged cars aren't safe for use on the road.

'They tend to be really unsafe. A lot of times the airbags have been inflated and may have not been replaced because it's expensive to replace airbags,' says Rosemary Shahan, the founder and president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a nonprofit advocacy group....

But a rebuilt car isn't necessarily any safer than a salvaged car, according to Shahan. 'It just means that the state allows them to indicate that somebody rebuilt this, but there's not a lot of standards for how well they rebuilt it or if it's really an adequate repair,' says Shahan."

Read more: NextAdvisor (In partnership with TIME): Buying a Salvage or Rebuilt Title Car is Almost Never a Good Idea. Here's Why
 


"5 Tips for Choosing a Cheaper Car to Insure"
NextAdvisor (In partnership with TIME)
by Alex Gailey
February 22, 2021
"There are many ways to save on car insurance. Purchasing the right type of car is one of the most important....

If you're looking to save on car insurance, safe and practical wins over flashy and fast just about every time. For example, research suggests that minivans are, on average, the least expensive cars to insure when compared to other vehicles. There are many reasons behind that; larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

'The kind of car you buy has a really significant impact on what you pay for car insurance,' says Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a consumer advocacy group. More costly claims for a particular type of car means a higher insurance rate....

'If you buy a high-end car that's really costly to repair, that can drive part of your insurance costs up significantly,' says Shahan."

Read more: NextAdvisor (In partnership with TIME): "5 Tips for Choosing a Cheaper Car to Insure"
 


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C.A.R.S. Mission
CARS is a national, award-winning,
non-profit auto safety and consumer
advocacy organization working to
save lives, prevent injuries, and
protect consumers from
auto-related fraud and abuse.

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Twitter blocked our
original CARS account
because we told the truth
about dangerous recalled cars,
Trump, and AutoNation

Follow us on Twitter
Here are the two tweets Twitter censored:

 

 
Read more at American Prospect:
"What's Up With Twitter's Content Moderation Policies?"  

 
DANGER!!!
 
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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