When we shop for used cars, we are no doubt looking for vehicles that are safe for our families. But a recent undercover investigation by “CBS This Morning” at dealerships in New Jersey showed that they were selling used cars with unrepaired safety recalls, some of which had seriously injured drivers. For example, an undercover reporter asked a salesperson at Premier Auto Group about whether a BMW X5 in the dealership had an open airbag recall. The salesperson replied that there was no such problem with the vehicle.
Dealerships Selling Unrepaired Vehicles
Similarly, the undercover team found a 2012 Acura TL with an airbag defect still unrepaired. But the salesperson there told them they would never sell anything that would given them a bad reputation. In yet another dealership, a salesman admitted they do sell cars with the Takata airbag defect, but told the undercover team “not to worry about it.”
Then, CBS reports the salesman added: “There’s only two or three people killed by it but they don’t even know what’s causing it.” So far, 11 people have died due to those airbags and we do know what caused it. A volatile chemical compound, ammonium nitrate, that causes airbags to deploy with such force that it expels shards of metal that seriously injure vehicle occupants.
No Law Requiring Repairs
Recently, a federal rule required that rental car companies remove unrepaired recalled vehicles from their fleet. However, there is no federal law that required used car dealers to inform consumers about unrepaired safety recalls on cars they are selling. These defects can have tragic consequences. Take the example of Alexander Brangman whose 26-year-old daughter, Jewel, died after her Takata airbag deployed and a sharp metal piece hit her carotid artery.
It was a fender bender she should have survived. Instead she bled, lost nine pints of blood and coded three times. Hers was a rental car, but the same dangers exist for buyers of used vehicles as well, particularly if dealerships won’t and aren’t required to divulge details about defective vehicles. We need a new law that requires dealerships to not sell recalled vehicles that are unrepaired. In cases like Takata airbag equipped vehicles where fixes may not yet be available, dealers should definitely be required to inform consumers about the recall and problems with the vehicle.
Protecting Your Rights
If you are in the market for a used car, do visit safercar.gov to check if the vehicle you are interested in buying has been recalled and/or repaired. Do not compromise your family’s safety. If you or a loved one has been injured by defective auto, contact an experienced auto defect lawyer to obtain more information about pursuing your legal rights.