Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, known by the acronym C.A.R.S., has launched a campaign against the automotive megadealer CarMax, alleging that its used car lots engage in a widespread practice of reselling unsafe cars, some with outstanding safety recalls, while touting its extensive checkpoint system.
C.A.R.S. director Rosemary Shahan, who is known as a tireless consumer advocate, is pushing for a new state law preventing dealers from selling cars under active recalls. Shahan asserts, "Dealers should not sell unsafe, recalled cars to consumers. Period. Yet, dealers continue to sell cars with serious safety defects that have killed and maimed people, and are being recalled by the manufacturer." With that unassailable logic, Shahan and C.A.R.S. have created a facebook page to spotlight some dark practices of the CarMax group. This interactive site gathers other media coverage of the issue, consumer complaints, comments, photos, and other evidence. To the extent all of this is true, there are a lot of really dangerous cars out there on the road.
Part of the problem is that used car dealers have started claiming their inventory has passed inspection of long checklists of components and parts, or been "certified" by the dealer's own professional service departments before being offered for sale. This kind of advertising lulls even naturally skeptical buyers into trusting the dealer and declining to get an independent inspection before buying the car. These programs are often deceptive, because consumers are lead to believe that a long list must include everything. Nonetheless, even a 100-item list could omit crucial things like the engine or brakes. Even buyers who read the list are apt not to notice what it doesn't include.
The issue of unaddressed recalls raises this deception to another level. That is where Shahan's proposed legislation comes in. Unresolved recalls involve, for the most part, defects that are known to be dangerous, constituting a risk of unreasonable harm, even bodily harm. An unsafe car may be unsafe not only for the driver, but for the entire stream of traffic on a busy road.
You can check out C.A.R.S. campaign to highlight the problem right here.