New and Used Car Dealers:
"We Can't Wait to Sell you an Unsafe,
Recalled Used Car"

Dealers kill popular first-in-the-nation legislation in California, spearheaded by CARS,
to stop them from selling or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers
At CARS' urging, California was the first state to seek to protect consumers from being victimized by unscrupulous new and used car dealers who sell unsafe recalled cars to the public.

Under federal law, it is illegal for car dealers to sell NEW cars recalled because of lethal safety defects to consumers. But no such law exists to protect USED car buyers. The Obama Administration has urged Congress to give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration the authority to stop car dealers from selling unsafe, recalled used cars. But so far, Congress has yet to act. That leaves it up to the states to do what they can.

2013: Car dealers testify against popular safety recall bill: caught on video
In 2014, the California New Car Dealers Association and used car dealers, including auto retailing giant CarMax, killed popular, first-in-the-nation auto safety legislation spearheaded by CARS, aimed at stopping dealers from renting, selling, leasing, or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers, until the cars are safe. Their lobbyists argued at a public hearing that auto dealers are entitled to sell used cars without bothering to get the lethal safety defects repaired first -- even though the repairs are FREE. They also complained about having to delay sales if parts for repairing the safety defects are temporarily unavailable.

The car dealers' testimony made it painfully obvious: they are far more interested in rapidly selling as many cars as possible, and maximizing the profit they make on each sale, than their customers' safety. After all, billionaires like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet invest in auto dealerships and the billions in auto loans they generate, so car dealers have a bunch of high-rolling "1%-ers" to satisfy. Plus many other dealers across the nation are raking in record profits. They don't want something of such little consequence to them, like their customers' safety, to interfere with rapid vehicle turnover.

So instead of selling recalled cars at wholesale to other dealers, or to auto auctions, or taking cars to other dealers for FREE repairs, car dealers sell them at retail to hapless consumers -- endangering them, their families and other passengers, and all of us who share the roads.

2014: Car Dealers kill popular safety recall bill: caught on video
See for yourself what flimsy excuses the dealers make. In the video above, the lobbyist for the CA New Car Dealers Association claims that car dealers are perfectly entitled to sell unsafe, recalled cars with lethal safety defects that their customers cannot possibly get repaired, because repair parts are scarce. He specifically mentions the Takata air bag recall that continues to kill people in gruesome low-speed crashes they would otherwise have survived. Like the tragic crash that claimed the life of Carlos Solis, the 35-year-old father of two who was recently killed in Texas, by an exploding Takata air bag in a recalled 2002 Honda: NY Times report about tragic crash

Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), the author of the measure, SB 686, spoke passionately about why it's important to ensure that used car buyers are provided the same protections afforded new car buyers. Under federal law, auto dealers are prohibited from dumping recalled NEW cars onto the public, until they're fixed, but there is no prohibition against dumping them on purchasers of USED cars.

Read more: Tragic crash claims life of 35-year-old father of two teenagers in recalled 2002 Honda

Who supported the safety recall bill, SB 686?
    Senator Hannah Beth Jackson
    California State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), author of SB 686, is working with CARS and other safety organizations to stop auto dealers from selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers
  • Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (official sponsors, taking the lead in working with Sen. Jackson for enactment)
  •  International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers -- 
    who predict that passage would create at least 1,000 new good-paying jobs in California
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • California Public Interest Research Group
  • California Nurses Association
  • Center for Public Interest Law
  • Children's Advocacy Institute
  • Consumer Action
  • Consumer Attorneys of California
  • Consumers Union
  • Consumer Federation of America
  • Consumer Federation of California
  • Consumer Watchdog
  • Courage Campaign
  • Enterprise Holdings
  • Firefighters Burn Institute
  • Hertz Corporation
  • Latino Business Association
  • National Consumers League
  • State Farm Insurance Co.
  • Trauma Foundation
  • Retired New Car Dealer Salvatore Cerrito
According to a reputable California statewide poll, a whopping 88% of likely voters favor making it illegal for dealers to sell recalled used cars to consumers.

Who killed the California safety recall bill?
  • Carmax
  • California New Car Dealers Association
  • California Chamber of Commerce (their current president, Fritz Hitchcock, is a mega-dealer in Southern California)
  • AutoNation (the country's largest auto dealership chain, which took in over $15.6 billion last year. AutoNation is based in Florida and owns many dealerships throughout California. One of AutoNation's largest investors is Bill Gates.)
Join our campaign on Facebook!
Buying a used car?
NEVER trust the seller. No matter what their slick advertising says.
ALWAYS check the Vehicle Identification Number yourself, BEFORE you agree to buy. Here's where to check:
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safety recall lookup
NEVER buy a recalled car. You and your family could be killed the same day. Plus it may be weeks or months before the car is safe to drive. Make sure that any car you buy is free from any open safety recalls. Your life IS precious, even if car dealers don't think it is.

How can you get a good deal on a safe, reliable used car -- without having to set foot on a car dealer's lot? CARS tips
More news coverage:
Fatal Accident Sparks Debate at State Capitol
ABC 30 KFSN-TV Fresno, CA

Mother of Crash Victims Testifies in Support of Senate Bill
Fox 5, San Diego

Calif. Lawmakers slam brakes on used-car safety bill
NBC - KCRA-TV Channel 3 Sacramento

Bill spawned by CHP Officer's death stalls
San Diego Union-Tribune report

Take Action
Sign CARS' petition: CARS campaign to stop CarMax from selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers

CA lawmakers vote to stop car dealers from playing "recalled car roulette"
A dealer sold this used Ford Windstar to LaQuata Williams without getting the FREE safety recall repairs done, to repair the faulty axle. She and a friend were nearly killed when the axle broke and the van flipped over on the freeway.
Used car buyers in California are one step closer to gaining new protections against auto dealers who sell used cars that are being recalled by the manufacturer -- without bothering to get them fixed, for free. Democratic members of the state's Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of outlawing car dealers from engaging in "recalled car roulette" -- endangering their customers' lives. The Democratic senators voted to pass legislation authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), despite opposition from the California New Car Dealers Association, the Independent Auto Dealers Association, and Carmax, whose lobbyists insisted that car dealers have no way to know when used cars are being recalled. Instead, they say that consumers are the ones who should have to find out about safety recalls, and get the cars fixed. So far, they haven't been able to explain why, if consumers can find out, dealers are so clueless.
A typical buy here, pay here car lot
LaQuata Williams was almost killed by a 2002 Ford Windstar that was recalled because the rear axle was prone to breaking.

Federal law prohibits auto dealers from selling NEW vehicles that are under a federal safety recall, but there is no law that specifically prohibits dealers from selling USED cars that have the same defects, and are under the same safety recall.

Former California auto dealer Salvatore Cerrito, who owned and managed many auto dealerships in Northern and Southern California for over 45 years, including dealerships for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Lincoln, Mercury, Chrysler/Jeep/Doge, Toyota, Honda, Nissan Mitsubishi, Hyundai, SAAB, Rolls Royce and Bentley, testified in favor of the bill. He pointed out to lawmakers that the only car dealers who don't seem able to find out about a used car's safety recall status are dealers who don't want to know.

Sentators Boxer and Feinstein speaking together
close-up of the broken axle on LaQuata Williams' Ford Windstar
LaQuata Williams, a mom with three children, described her horrific experience. A used car dealer in Kansas sold her an unsafe, recalled 2002 Ford Windstar. She had explained that she has three children and she needed a vehicle that was safe and reliable. The dealer told her that the Windstar was just what she was looking for. She complained to the dealer that she heard a popping noise in the rear. She took it back to the dealer repeatedly for repairs to fix the noise. The dealer insisted that the Windstar was perfectly safe. Then while she was driving on the freeway, going about 65 mph, the axle broke. Suddenly she lost steering and the Windstar spun out and flipped over, nearly killing LaQuata and her boyfriend. Fortunately, her children weren't in the car, and both LaQuata and her boyfriend were wearing their seat belts. “It’s a miracle we weren’t severely injured or killed,” she said.

The next day, LaQuata learned that Ford Windstars had been recalled due to breaking axles. She obtained the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for her Windstar and contacted Ford.
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The manufacturer said that there were two safety recalls pending -- including for the axle breaking. Carfax also noted the pending safety recalls in its report on her Windstar.

CARS is spearheading efforts to change the law and get Senator Jackson's bill, SB 686, enacted.

Read more: Call Kurtis: Senate Bill Addressing Recalled Cars Clears 1st Hurdle
KOVR-TV (CBS, Sacramento)
Take Action
Sign CARS' petition: CARS campaign to stop CarMax from selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers

A typical buy here, pay here car lot
  Rosemary Shahan, president of CARS, tells Today Show
  about hazards of unsafe, recalled cars
Today Show Investigation:
Car dealers caught on camera
selling unsafe, recalled used cars
March 7, 2013
The TODAY Show's Jeff Rossen, Josh Davis and their news team went undercover and found licensed auto dealers selling cars without bothering to get the safety recall repairs done first -- even though the repairs are FREE. First TODAY scoped out cars that are under a safety recall, for sale on car lots in the Midwest. Then they went on the lots and asked whether the cars were safe. So -- did the dealers told them the truth, without the cameras in sight? What do you think?

Watch what happens when dealers are asked if an unfixed, recalled car is safe --
Today Show: Rossen Reports: Hidden cameras reveal cars for sale with potentially deadly safety flaws

Unsafe recalled cars can kill you, or your family. Even if you don't buy one. If the steering goes and the driver of an unrepaired, recalled car loses control, you are at risk -- even if you just happen to be nearby. Or if the brakes fail and a recalled SUV crashes into a car that your child is riding in. Last year, over 32,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Vehicle crashes are the #1 killers of people under the age of 34. For most people, the riskiest thing they do on a regular basis is to drive a car, or ride in one. Our highways are already risky places. The last thing we need is for vehicles with known safety defects to be on the roads.

Sentators Boxer and Feinstein speaking together
  Today Show investigative reporter Jeff Rossen confronts
  auto dealer caught selling recalled vehicle on his lot
So it's important to get recalled cars fixed -- pronto. Last year, over 16 million vehicles were recalled due to defects like -- catching on fire, brake failure, cruise control that goes haywire, axles that break apart, and other life-threatening defects. Most owners got their cars fixed -- but millions didn't, and traded them in at dealerships across the U.S. where they are ticking automotive time bombs.

Polling shows overwhelming public support for ensuring that vehicles are safe and recall repairs are performed -- before vehicles are rented or sold.

CARS is spearheading efforts to get unsafe, recalled used cars fixed -- BEFORE people are hurt. Were you sold an unsafe, recalled car? We want to hear from you. Here's how to get in touch --
Join our campaign on Facebook!

Where's the best place to check for safety recalls? Check out the manufacturer's website, call their toll-free number, or call a local dealer that sells the same make and model. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also started a program to alert car owners by email about new safety recalls -- before you get a letter from the manufacturer. Here's where to register to get email notices from NHTSA, the nation's leading auto safety agency:
Take Action
Sign CARS' petition: CARS campaign to stop CarMax from selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers
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C.A.R.S. Mission
CARS is a national, award-winning,
non-profit auto safety and consumer
advocacy organization working to
save lives, prevent injuries, and
protect consumers from
auto-related fraud and abuse.

to everyone who has supported CARS' work, including the more than 589,000 people who have contributed financially
to CARS, and signed or shared CARS' petitions. YOU are helping save precious lives!!

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Twitter blocked our
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Here are the two tweets Twitter censored:


Read more at American Prospect:
"What's Up With Twitter's Content Moderation Policies?"  

CarMax sells cars with
deadly safety recall defects.
ABC's 20/20 went undercover and caught
CarMax up to their sneaky tricks.
More than 730,000 viewers have watched this video clip on CARS' YouTube channel
Help save lives -- share the link!

Take Action
Sign C.A.R.S.' petition (so far, signed
by over 117,000 people like you):
Tell CarMax to stop selling unsafe,
recalled cars to consumers
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Buyer Beware! Auto dealers use
forced arbitration
to get away with cheating customers
Even when car dealers flagrantly violate consumer protection laws, you may not be able to get justice. That's because almost 100% of car dealers stick "forced arbitration" clauses into their contracts. If they cheat you, and you try to take them to court, they can just laugh at you. That's because they can get your case kicked into arbitration -- a secret, rigged process that favors big, corrupt lawbreakers. The dealer often gets to choose the arbitration firm, and even the arbitrator who hears your case. Unlike judges, arbitrators are perfectly free to ignore the law.

Dealers claim that arbitration is quick. But Jon Perz in San Diego had to wait over 8 years in "arbitration limbo" before he finally got justice, after Mossy Toyota sold him an unsafe car. CARS produced a short video exposing what happened. More than 1.3 million people have watched our video on YouTube:
See the billboard CARS displayed
right next to Mossy Toyota's car lot,
and read more about how Jon finally won.

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