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Beware Of Open Recalls While Shopping For Used Cars

According to a recent article, reporters used hidden cameras to capture car salesmen failing to tell consumers that the vehicles they have for sale may have unfixed recalls in their history.

Reports show that the number of sales of used cars has soared during this last year. Data indicated that many of these vehicles have also been sold with unrepaired safety recalls, which could, in many cases, pose a risk to consumers.

Most consumers ask a series of questions to car salesmen about the vehicles they are interested in buying concerning safety and reliability, however, what salespeople fail to point out is that some of these cars may have not been fixed after a safety recall was announced, which is why consumers should look into the car they are interested in buying ahead of time in order to prevent potential problems.

Investigators reported that dozen of dealers had cars available with open recalls not yet fixed, in spite of the fact manufacturers had ordered all recalled vehicles to be fixed.  Over 2 million cars with open recalls were available for sale online last year, according to Carfax. Some of the open recalls were linked to issues that could cause fires while others were linked to potential risks that could cause drivers to lose control of the vehicle while on the road. Some of these open recalls concerned issues that could result in rollovers. According to a recent report issued by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, used cars for sale with open recalls can be dangerous because of the scope of issues, which could pose a serious of threats linked to defective steering systems, faulty air bags and unreliable brakes.

Consumers expect to learn from the dealers whether a used vehicle they may buy has been recalled in the past. Experts say that expectations do not meet reality when the subject is used cars and dealerships.

Undercover investigators went to a series of dealers to look for used cars and check if the vehicles had any open recalls. According to the article, one of the dealers had a Nissan SUV available. The undercover reporters ran the VIN online to check for recalls and found that this vehicle had an open recall linked to airbags that may not deploy correctly, which could pose an injury risk. As soon as the reporters asked the dealer about the recall, he was open about it and assured the reporters they would have the issue fixed for them if they wanted to purchase the vehicle.

Other experiences were not as pleasant. According to the article, one of the dealers had a Hyundai vehicle that, the dealer explained, needed a new sensor and had put on many miles. When asked about safety issues, the dealer said the car was good to go. As soon as the reporters checked the vehicle for open recalls, they discovered that this particular car had been recalled for stop-lamp switches, which could result in an issue that would keep the cruise control running even if the driver hits the brakes.

Experts believe that auto dealers should look up all vehicles for open recalls before they make the vehicles available.  In many cases, dealers will have reports ready that do not mention any open recalls, which could be a serious issue considering how dangerous defects linked to open safety recalls can be.

If you would like to learn more about this particular article and how you should proceed to ensure the vehicle you’re purchasing is absolutely safe, click here for the full article.

About the Author
The Vachon Law Firm is based in Southern California and focuses exclusively on consumer protection litigation.