HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Buying a used car can be a daunting process and according to new research, it can be dangerous for consumers.
Not everyone can afford to buy or lease a new “worry-free” car. Hence the appeal of “certified” used cars.
But the consumer group ConnPIRG recently found that one out of 9 cars sold at Auto Nation has recalls on it, including issues with breaks, steering wheels, ignitions, and airbags.
“Auto Nation, CarMax and dealerships like it are putting consumers and customers in danger before they even get home,” said Justin Landry, ConnPIRG.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal says it’s a big issue here in Connecticut.
“Many of these cars with defects are labeled certified which leads the buyer to believe that in fact they are safe and that they have been repaired,” said Blumenthal.
Blumenthal’s office conducted its own review at this CarMax in Hartford.
“One out of every 8 of these cars has a serious defect under recall,” said Blumenthal.
But CarMax says it is extremely transparent about recalls, noting that CarMax is not certified to fix the issues. Recalls can only be repaired by dealers.
In a statement, CarMax said “we share vehicle specific open recall information in-store, and online to ensure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase.”
Still, Blumenthal says that’s not good enough. He introduced legislation that would require dealers to repair defects before sale.
“People driving these cars off the lot, even if they’re told about the defect, post a danger to themselves, their passengers and other motorists on the road,” said Blumenthal.
There’s a way for consumers to check this out on their own. If you have the car’s vin number, you can go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Board and see if it has any recalls.
WEB EXTRA: Sen. Blumenthal urges car dealers to stop selling cars with unrepaired recalls at press conference
CarMax released the following statement in regards to Blumenthal’s press conference:
CarMax’s Commitment to Recall Transparency
CarMax Provides Consumers with Information About Open Recalls Prior to Sale
CarMax has led the industry in recall transparency. In 2014, centralized recall information was made available by NHTSA. We believe we were one of the first to incorporate it into our advertising and sales process. We share vehicle specific open recall information in-store and online to ensure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase.
Because most of our customers visit us first online, every vehicle listing on carmax.com and on CarMax’s mobile apps includes a link to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall lookup website, with the VIN pre-populated, allowing customers to obtain open recall information on any CarMax used vehicle. In addition, CarMax used vehicles have two stickers posted on their windows that provide information about how to obtain safety recall information.
Before any customer purchases a used vehicle, a CarMax associate and the customer review the vehicle’s recall information available on the NHTSA website, which includes a review of the nature of the recall. If a customer decides to proceed with purchase, customers review the NHTSA search results a second time, again including details about the nature of the recall, and sign a form acknowledging receipt of the NHTSA recall information prior to signing sales documents. Both the NHTSA search results and the acknowledgement form are provided to the customer with their paperwork. If a customer decides they do not want to keep the vehicle for any reason, every vehicle sold by CarMax is covered by a 7-Day Money-Back Guarantee.
We recommend that our customers register their vehicle with the manufacturer and urge them to have open recalls fixed immediately following purchase. Our vehicles meet or exceed state safety inspection requirements in the more than 20 states that mandate vehicles pass safety standards.
Open Recalls Can Only Be Cleared at a Manufacturer-Authorized Facility
The current recall system is based on the manufacturer’s relationship with its dealers and registered vehicle owners, and not with independent used auto retailers, like CarMax. Among other things, this means that manufacturers have not authorized CarMax to complete recall repairs and close out recalls.
Our experience shows us customers are in the best position to act on recall information directly with a manufacturer-authorized dealer. We have found that dealers are often more likely to provide timely recall repair to customers rather than to a competitor, like CarMax, so we encourage customers to have recalls repaired at a manufacturer-authorized facility.
CarMax is built on integrity – and has been recognized nationally for this commitment. Ninety five percent of our purchasers say they would recommend us to family and friends. We believe this continued loyalty is due to the straightforward and transparent car buying experience that we continue to provide.