U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal has proposed new legislation to regulate the sale of used cars with unrepaired recalls with what he says can be lethal safety defects.
Blumenthal, the senior senator from Connecticut, is concerned about cars sold by CarMax. “CarMax advertises that all its vehicles must pass a rigorous ‘125 point inspection,’ but no inspection that routinely ignores outstanding safety recalls can be called ‘rigorous,'” Blumenthal said, according to television station WFSB. “Regardless of whether they are buying a new or used car, all consumers deserve to know they are buying a safe car.”
An investigation by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation found that CarMax dealerships in Hartford and East Haven recently offered 74 cars for sale with unresolved safety issues. The sales in questions occurred during two 24-hour periods in July and August, according to WFSB. The defects included airbags that may not inflate, short circuits that could cause electrical fires, child safety seat anchors that could fail to latch, and faulty fuel pumps that could cause a car’s engine to shut off unexpectedly, according to Blumenthal. Evan Preston, executive director of ConnPIRG, the state’s Public Interest Research Group, said, “CarMax should not be allowed to make Connecticut, or any other state, a dumping ground for unsafe recalled vehicles with potentially lethal safety defects.” Rosemary Shahan, president of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation, said CarMax’s actions puts not only the used-car buyers and their passengers at risk but endangers “everyone who shares the roads,” according to WFSB.
CarMax told Eyewitness News that it provides information about open recalls prior to selling a vehicle. “CarMax was founded to fundamentally change the way Americans buy used cars,” the company said in a statement. “For more than 20 years, CarMax has dedicated itself to providing customers with a straightforward, transparent car-buying experience that is based on integrity.”CarMax noted that car owners have recently had to deal with an unprecedented number of vehicle recalls. The company said it provides vehicle-specific information about open recalls to every retail customer before a sale is made. Customers can access National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) information through CarMax.com. Prospective customers can obtain pertinent recall information by entering the vehicle’s identification number. A sales associate reviews that information with prospective customers and the customer signs a form acknowledging receipt of the information. But CarMax explains that the current recall system is based on the manufacturer’s relationship with its dealers and with registered vehicle owners, not with independent used-auto retailers like CarMax. Manufacturers have not authorized CarMax to complete recall repairs.
Blumenthal’s proposed legislation, the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, would make it a violation of a federal law for car dealers to fail to repair any recalled vehicle before selling or leasing it, WFSB reports.