When an automotive part is defective, the manufacturer may issue a recall so that the issue can be fixed and further injuries are avoided. Consumers who are shopping for used cars, however, may not have the full history of the car and any recalls it may have been subjected to. If the car was not brought in for the necessary repairs, the buyer may be in danger and not realize it. A study by multiple consumer groups recently revealed that auto reseller, CarMax, has been selling vehicles with faulty airbags and other possible defects.
Safety advocates examined the recall history of vehicles at eight CarMax locations in three states. Of the 1,700 cars for sale at these locations, 461 had been recalled for at least one defect and the company did not have them repaired; one vehicle had been subjected to recall for six defects, none of which had been fixed. There were several different types of defects found in the cars, including some that resulted in vehicle fires. All the defects discovered have been linked to injuries, some of them fatal. Forty-one vehicles had defects where there was no repair solution available.
One of the defects discovered was an air-bag inflator made by Takata Corp. Forty-five vehicles included these inflators, which have been linked to 18 fatalities and more than 100 injuries throughout the world. The Takata recall may have affected a total of 100 million vehicles.
CarMax has issued a statement saying that they value transparency and are committed to providing information about recalls to consumers. Vehicle profiles on their website contain links to applicable recalls. When buying a car at one of the locations, consumers sit with a CarMax employee who provides them with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall information and are asked to sign a form stating that they received this information before the sale is finalized.
Advocacy groups are saying that this is not enough, and that those vehicles should not be available for sale at all. Furthermore, they say that the cars are marketed in such a way that implies that they are safe, when they have potentially lethal defects. It is illegal to sell a new vehicle that is subject to an open recall, but this restriction does not apply to used cars.
The New York State Attorney General’s Office settled a case involving 100 auto dealers throughout the state who allegedly sold vehicles with unrepaired defects. Each dealer was fined $1,000 and ordered to disclose the recall status of all used vehicles they sell. A similar suit happened between the Federal Trade Commission and General Motors after two dealers allegedly sold vehicles subject to recall, despite claims that they thoroughly inspected all the vehicles.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident involving an auto defect, call the experienced team of Philadelphia products liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP. We will thoroughly review the facts of your case to determine who is liable for your injuries and obtain you the compensation to which you are entitled. With offices conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Call us today at 1-800-222-USWA (8792) or contact us online for a consultation.