Used car dealers do not always have the best reputations, and practices recently brought to light regarding some used car dealers are not going to enhance their image. Some unscrupulous car dealers are selling vehicles recalled for various defects, and not informing the purchasers about the recalls. Currently, there is no federal law prohibiting vehicles under safety recall from being sold. If a buyer assumes that the dealer fixed the recall issue prior to sale, that is a big and not necessarily correct assumption.
VIN Numbers Easy to Check
Checking a vehicle’s recall status is a simple procedure. It only requires running the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) through a federal database at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)to view a car’s recall status. When a manufacturer announces a recall, the vehicle’s owner can take the car in to an authorized dealer for free repairs.
Over the past 53 years, more than 390 million vehicles have been subject to recall. However, millions of vehicles – as many as 57 million, by some industry estimates – are on the road every day, their recall issues not corrected.
When it comes to used cars, dealers may emphasize the “multi-point inspection” reports they use, which may not include addressing recall problems. Potential buyers are never informed that the car is under recall. They can check the recall status on their own via the NHTSA website, but many think the used car dealer is either supposed to fix recall issues or inform the buyer, neither of which is required legally. That is not the case with new car dealers, who cannot sell vehicles subject to recall, or with rental companies, who cannot rent such cars.
Deaths and Injuries
Unaddressed recall problems can lead to serious injuries and deaths. Lawsuits filed against used car dealers include one filed by a Chicago man who was not informed his used car was subject to a recall due to a defective ignition switch already blamed for causing 124 deaths. He was badly injured in a crash, as the car’s airbags did not inflate because of ignition switch failure, which cut off power to the brakes, steering wheel and airbags. The death of two sisters in 2004 in a rented car under recall led to federal legislation banning the use of rented vehicles under recall.
Many used car dealers are unapologetic about selling cars under recall and not informing the buyer. They state it is easier for the buyer to take care of recall issues for free at an authorized dealer than have a dealer competitor try to have the vehicles fixed. Other dealers say getting parts for certain recalls is difficult.
Philadelphia Product Liability Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Injured by Auto Defects
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of a defective auto part, you need the services of the experienced Philadelphia product liability lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. For a free consultation or to learn more, contact us online or call 215-569-8488 today. From our offices in Philadelphia, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania, including the areas of Chester County and Delaware County, as well as Delaware and New Jersey.