Consumers for
Auto
Reliability and
Safety
 
 
ABC's 20/20 exposes CarMax's shady
sales practices

CarMax admits it sells unsafe, recalled cars to consumers
ABC News Report: What Do Some CarMax Sales Reps Tell Consumers?
Friday, December 12, 2014
By Joseph Rhee and Gio Benitez
 
"CarMax says it has transformed the used car buying experience with no haggling pricing and financing and its “125+ point” inspection process to make sure drivers don’t end up with a lemon. But consumer advocates say CarMax sales reps don’t always disclose the complete history and condition of the vehicles they sell.

A 20/20 investigation found instances on two CarMax lots where vehicles were being sold with reportedly significant accident histories or unrepaired safety recall issues....

When it came to outstanding safety recalls, the Hartford dealership salesman was recorded on hidden camera telling Benitez that CarMax is unable to sell a car with a major safety recall. “We can’t even sell it until that’s taken care of,” he said. “We take care of any kind of safety concern prior to the car even being out here.”

However, a check of a federal government website revealed that the Toyota Camry at the Hartford CarMax dealership had three outstanding safety recalls on it at the time of our visit, including one for a power switch that could overheat and melt, possibly resulting in a fire. Five other vehicles sitting on the lot also had unfixed safety recalls, according to the government website.

CarMax declined an interview but told 20/20 in a statement that it doesn't automatically fix recall vehicles before selling them and only does so if a customer requests it. CarMax says it does inform consumers about any open recalls and recently upgraded its website so customers can look up open recalls online through the government database. CarMax also says it retrained its staff on its recall policy.

A coalition of consumer and safety groups filed a petition with the Federal Trade Commission this June, urging the agency to investigate CarMax’s safety recall policy. Rosemary Shahan, head of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), is calling on the FTC to require CarMax to have all safety recall vehicles repaired before selling them to consumers. “CarMax sells vehicles that are under safety recall without bothering to fix them,” said Shahan. “If they wanted to do it right, it would be very easy for them to do it right.” (Emphasis added)"

Read more: ABC 20/20 News Radio: What Do Some CarMax Sales Reps Tell Consumers?
   
 
ABC 30 investigation finds dangerous
recalled cars for sale on dealer lots
Channel 30 (ABC) Fresno
November 17, 2014
by Corin Hoggard
 
"A record number of vehicles are getting recalled this year. Car makers have pulled about one of every five vehicles on the road, 58 million of them. But many of the potentially dangerous cars are hiding in plain sight on used car lots here in the Valley.

The truth is: they're all over the place, and you may never know it until it's too late."
   
See video: ABC 30 News investigation finds dangerous recalled cars on dealer lots
 
 
CarMax -- caught on Camera AGAIN selling unsafe, recalled cars
 
An undercover investigation by WSB-TV in Atlanta, GA found CarMax is still selling unsafe, recalled cars -- while claiming they take care of safety recalls.

Instead of cleaning up their act, and ensuring the cars they sell are safe, CarMax says they plan to keep leaving it up to car buyers to get the safety recall repairs done -- AFTER they buy the car. For millions of recalled cars, it could take months before repair parts are available, and meanwhile CarMax customers will be stuck driving ticking time bombs.

Watch video: WSB-TV report: CarMax under Fire over Recall Policy
 
 
 

NEWS
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
Contact: Rosemary Shahan, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety – (530)-759-9440

CarMax Sales of Unsafe, Recalled Cars
Target of Protest
Family almost killed by recalled Dodge Ram and consumer groups picket CarMax, Call on CarMax to Stop Selling Unsafe, Recalled Cars

Protesters picketed the CarMax store in Roseville, CA today, calling on CarMax to stop selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers. Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) also released recall notices for over a dozen recalled cars and trucks CarMax is currently offering for sale in Roseville (as of Monday Sept. 29), with defects such as sticky gas pedals, faulty steering, window switches that can catch on fire, and air bags that may not inflate when needed in a crash.

Among the protesters: Angela Davidson and her daughter, Jasmine. On May 19, the CarMax store in Irvine, CA sold the Davidson family a recalled 2010 Dodge Ram. Protesters held up posters showing a photo of their truck in flames, on Highway 15, just 11 days after they bought it. The Davidsons were joined by supporters from Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety and CourageCampaign.org.

"CarMax sold my family a ticking time-bomb," said Angela Davidson, who recently moved with her family from Victorville, CA to Las Vegas, NV. CarMax is the nation's largest retailer of used cars, is publicly traded on Wall Street, and last year took in over $10 billion.

Because CarMax advertises that all the cars it offers for sale must meet a rigorous "125+ - point inspection," and be "CarMax Quality Certified," the Davidsons believed the truck was safe. But a few days later, when they tried to synch their Bluetooth with Chrysler's U-Connect, the manufacturer's customer service staffer broke the news that Chrysler had issued a safety recall for the truck in 2013 because the drive shaft pinion was defective, making the drive shaft prone to separating from the rear axle, without warning. The Davidsons returned to the CarMax store, thinking that CarMax would take back the truck and get the safety recall done. But CarMax refused, and told them it was their problem. The Davidsons then took the truck to a Chrysler dealer for the safety recall repairs.

On May 30, while Clarence and Angela and their 12-year-old daughter Kira were riding in the truck on Highway 15 in the Mojave Desert, they heard a loud noise and the truck became virtually impossible to steer. The truck fell apart on the freeway and caught on fire. Clarence, Angela, and Kira barely escaped alive before the truck exploded into flames. Clarence yanked Kira out of the back of the cab just seconds before the explosion. The ensuing fire consumed 3 acres and shut down the highway for 4 hours.

"CarMax is playing recalled car roulette with its customers' lives," said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a non-profit auto safety organization that is spearheading efforts to close the safety loophole that allows car dealers to sell recalled cars to used car buyers. "It would be a federal crime for CarMax to sell recalled cars like the Davidson's Dodge Ram to consumers if it were new," said Eddie Kurtz, Political Director of CourageCampaign.org.

In a similar incident that occurred last fall, David Clayton of Fresno, who bought a "certified" Dodge Ram with the same defect and safety recall from Lampe Dodge in Visalia, was nearly killed when his truck fell apart on the freeway. The drive shaft continued to spin, slamming into the gas tank The gas tank had to be replaced, but no fuel leaked out. The Davidson's truck was burned to a crisp and has not yet been inspected by an expert. So it's not clear whether the safety recall caused the incident. What is clear is that CarMax sold them an unsafe, recalled truck and 11 days later, they were nearly killed when it fell apart and caught on fire.

As recently as last Friday, CarMax was offering this 2009 Dodge Ram for sale in Roseville, despite the fact it has the exact same defect / safety recall as the Davidson's truck:
2009 Dodge Ram - rear axel defect

CARS also released ads and federal safety recall notices for other recalled vehicles CarMax is currently offering sale at their lot in Roseville, including the following: Note: for some of the recalls, there is no remedy available yet, so consumers who purchase those vehicles will be unable to get the recall repairs, possibly for weeks or months.

According to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, who joined in the protest, outlawing dealers like CarMax from selling recalled cars in California would create at least 1,000 good-paying jobs for automotive technicians in our state, performing safety recall repairs.

CarMax's excuse for not getting the FREE safety recall repairs done? They are not authorized by auto manufacturers to perform safety recall repairs. However, CarMax still has several options for handling safety recalls that would not place their customers' safety at risk. Among them: 1) Informing consumers who seek to trade in vehicles that their car has a pending safety recall, and they need to get it fixed before CarMax is willing to buy their car, or 2) taking the cars to properly authorized dealerships for free safety recall repairs, or 3) selling recalled vehicles to other dealers, auto auctions, or other wholesalers, instead of selling them at retail to consumers.

CARS recently spearheaded a petition to the Federal Trade Commission seeking action by the agency to curb CarMax's deceptive advertising and sales of unsafe, recalled cars to consumers.

CarMax played a major role in killing legislation in Sacramento this year that was supported by CARS, CourageCampaign.org, SAFE KIDS CA, the California Nurses Association, the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and many other pro-safety groups, that would have made it a crime for dealers to sell unsafe, recalled cars to California consumers. The bill, SB 686, authored by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), would have allowed dealers to sell recalled vehicles to other dealers, but not to retail customers.

More info: New York Times report: includes CarMax quote and photo of David Clayton in his Dodge Ram, which had the same safety recall pending as the Davidson's Dodge Ram from CarMax
 
 


 
 
 
   CarMax sold this recalled Dodge Ram to the Davidson family. Just 11 days later, it fell apart on the freeway
   and caught on fire. (More details below)

Ad published in Sacramento News & Review warns consumers: CarMax sells unsafe, recalled cars
 


CarMax: Stop Selling Unsafe,
Recalled Cars to Consumers

 
CarMax is the largest used-car retailer in the U.S. You've probably seen their ads claiming that every car they sell passes a rigorous "125+-point inspection.” What they don't tell you is that CarMax fails to get the safety recall repairs done before they sell cars to consumers.

CarMax sells ticking timebomb cars with safety defects like: catching on fire, brake failure, exploding air bags, axles that break, ignition switches that make cars die in traffic and disable the air bags, and other life-threatening safety defects.

CarMax says they're not authorized by auto manufacturers to perform safety recall repairs. So instead of taking recalled cars to other dealers who are authorized to do the repairs, for free, CarMax dumps the unsafe cars onto their customers.

Last year, CarMax took in over $10 Billion. They can easily afford to get recalled cars repaired for free or sell them to dealers who are authorized to perform safety recall repairs. They just don't care enough about their customers' safety to do the right thing.

CarMax needs to hear from consumers. Tell CarMax to stop selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers without getting the free repairs done first:
CarMax: Stop selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers.

Did CarMax sell you a recalled car?
Tell us your story.
About the photo at the top:

On May 19, Angela and Clarence Davidson bought a used 2010 Dodge Ram from CarMax in Irvine, CA. With children at home and in college, and a 5-year-old grandson, they wanted a safe car. Because the car was "CarMax Quality Certified," they believed it was safe.

But after they bought it, Chrysler told them the truck was recalled over a year ago. The drive shaft was defective and likely to separate from the rear axle. CarMax had failed to get it repaired before selling it to the Davidsons.

When they tried to return it, Carmax refused, and told them it was now their problem, not CarMax's. So they took it to a Chrysler dealer for the safety recall repairs and thought it was fixed.

But on May 30, without warning, the truck fell apart on the freeway and caught on fire. The couple and their 12-year-old daughter barely escaped before the truck exploded into flames. It also caused a brush fire that closed down the freeway for about 4 hours.

They owned their “CarMax Quality Certified” truck just 11 days. Then it almost killed them.
 


Consumer Groups Warn CarMax Has Misleading Ads
WFMY News Channel 2 (Gannett)
July 1, 2014
By Benjamin Briscoe
 
 
"GREENSBORO, N.C. - If a used car dealer told you it put every vehicle through a "rigorous inspection" and "thorough reconditioning process" - would you expect the car you buy to still have problems? Problems that could lead to an engine fire or the brakes failing?

The engine fire and brake failure problems are real open recalls 2 Wants To Know found in CarMax's Triad stock. And those claims about "inspection" and "reconditioning" are from a CarMax commercial."

See video: WFMY News: Consumer Groups Warn CarMax Has Misleading Ads

Read more: FTC Urged to Curb Carmax's Sales of Recalled Used Cars, Deceptive Ads
 


11 Consumer Groups ask F.T.C. to Investigate CarMax over Unfixed Recalled Cars
New York Times
June 24, 2014
By Christopher Jensen
 
"Saying that advertisements by CarMax, the nation’s largest used-car retailer, are deceptive, a coalition of 11 consumer groups has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Rosemary Shahan, the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, said the groups would like the F.T.C. to stop CarMax from selling used vehicles without fixing recalls. “They are trying to say they are not responsible for making sure the recall work is done at the time you buy the car,” she said.

The CarMax-related petition being sent to the F.T.C. also has the support of Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York. “It is bad enough that used-car dealers are not required by law to fix a safety recall problem prior to selling the recalled vehicle to a consumer,” Senator Schumer wrote in a supporting letter sent to the F.T.C. on Monday. “Compounding the safety risks with misleading and deceptive advertising and sales practices only further endangers the safety of used-car customers and everyone who shares the roads,” he wrote.

The lack of a law requiring recall repairs to be performed on used vehicles surprised Angela Davidson, who bought a 2010 Ram 1500 pickup from a CarMax dealer in Irvine, Calif., last month. She contacted Chrysler to see about using Bluetooth to connect her cellphone. After providing the vehicle identification number, she was told that her Ram had been recalled in February 2013 because the rear axle might seize up. Chrysler had told federal safety regulators that such a development could “cause a loss of vehicle control and/or a vehicle crash with little warning.”

“If I had known that there was an open recall like that there is no way on this Earth that I would have driven off with that truck,” she said."

Read more: New York Times: Consumer Groups Ask FTC to Investigate CarMax

Read more: FTC Urged to Curb Carmax's Sales of Recalled Used Cars, Deceptive Ads
 


Petition Seeks to Block CarMax Sales of Unrepaired Recalled Cars
Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2014
By Jerry Hirsch
 
“CarMax is playing recalled-used-car roulette with its customers' lives,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, a Sacramento consumer advocacy nonprofit that spearheaded the petition.

.... attorneys for CarMax said it was impractical for the used car seller to manage the repairs, with the company having to devote staff time to taking a recalled car to the nearest dealer of that make for the repairs. The manufacturer, not CarMax, would still pay for all recall repairs."

Read more: LA Times: Petition Seeks to Block CarMax Sales of Unrepaired Recalled Cars

Read more: FTC Urged to Curb Carmax's Sales of Recalled Used Cars, Deceptive Ads
 


General Motors supports passage
of Rental Car Safety Bill

In a major development that bodes well for passage of landmark auto safety legislation to protect the public from unsafe, recalled rental cars, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today announced that General Motors has changed its position, and is now supporting the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act, S 921. The Act is named in memory of two sisters, ages 24 and 20, who were killed by a recalled rental car in 2004, near Santa Cruz, California. Eventually, the rental car company admitted that the safety defect under recall, which was issued about 30 days before the car caught on fire and crashed into an 18-wheeler, caused their deaths. Their mother, Cally Houck, has become a tireless advocate for protecting consumers from unsafe, recalled rental cars and used cars. Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety has been working closely with Cally Houck since learning of her daughters' deaths, and has been spearheading legislative efforts.

If enacted, S 921 will prohibit rental car companies from renting or selling recalled vehicles from the time when the rental car companies receive the manufacturer's safety recall notice until the safety recall repairs have been performed. GM sought a single amendment that simply clarifies that the new bill will not change the status quo, regarding the ability of rental car companies to seek reimbursement from auto manufacturers when recalled vehicles have to be grounded, and they lose business income, pending safety recall repairs. Rental car companies, including Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, and many smaller companies, as well as the American Rental Car Association, have been supporting enactment of the bill for several years, and working cooperatively with consumer and safety groups to persuade members of Congress to make it the law, but the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and National Automobile Dealers Association have been blocking passage. GM is a member of the Alliance.

In a July 8 letter to Senator Schumer, GM writes that if the amendment is taken, "Such a revised bill will have the support of General Motors."

Senators Schumer, Boxer, and McCaskill, and other co-sponsors of the bill, as well as the rental car companies, Cally Houck, and consumer and safety groups who have been working actively for enactment of the bill, have agreed to that amendment.

When GM CEO Mary Barra testified before the US Senate Commerce Committee in April, Senator Boxer challenged her to support passage of S 921. At the time, Barra responded that she had not read the bill, but supported it "in concept." Not satisfied with that response, Sen. Boxer sent her a copy of the bill and again challenged GM to join in supporting the bill.

DOCUMENTS:

U.S. Senator Schumer's news release:
http://www.schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=355053

General Motors letter and attachment:
carconsumers.org/pdf/GM_SenSchumer_S921_support.pdf
carconsumers.org/pdf/GM_SenSchumer_S921_support_attachment.pdf

 


Safety Groups Seek Federal Trade
Commission Curbs on CarMax Over
Sales of Recalled Used Cars,
Deceptive Advertising

BREAKING NEWS
For immediate release: June 24, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC. Eleven major national consumer and safety non-profit organizations are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and take enforcement action against CarMax, the nation's largest retailer of used cars, over its sales of recalled used cars. In a petition filed at the FTC on Monday, the groups charge that:

        CarMax advertises on its website, on television, in newspapers, and at its dealerships that each of the used vehicles it offers for sale are “CarMax Quality Certified” and has undergone a rigorous, “125+ point inspection.” However, CarMax fails to ensure that safety recalls are performed prior to selling used cars to consumers. As reported by the New York Times, “CarMax, the nation's largest seller of used cars, offers a “Certified Quality Inspection,” which does not include fixing [safety] recalls.”1

        “Car dealers shouldn't sell used cars that have a safety recall to consumers, period. Far too many times we have seen the tragic and often fatal consequences when deficient cars are allowed on the road, and it's time for the FTC to do everything it can to put a stop to it,” said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-New York).

        “CarMax is playing recalled used car roulette with its customers' lives,” said Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), which spearheaded the petition. CARS is a national non-profit auto safety and consumer advocacy organization based in Sacramento, California.

        Federal law prohibits auto dealers from selling new cars that are under a safety recall, but there is no similar law to protect used car buyers. CarMax recently played a major role in killing first-in-the-nation legislation2 that was pending in California, to prohibit car dealers from selling recalled used cars to consumers unless the safety recall repairs have been performed. In a letter to California legislators, opposing the bill, CarMax wrote that “Manufacturers safety recalls should be taken seriously by manufacturers, dealers, and consumers.” But CarMax stopped short of saying that it ensures that safety recalls are performed on vehicles they offer for sale. Instead, CarMax said that it “carefully advises its customers to register their vehicles with its manufacturer as soon as they purchase the vehicle so they can be apprised of any future recalls.” (Emphasis added.)

CarMax complained in their letter that “Unfortunately, manufacturers do not permit independent auto dealers like CarMax to repair recalls. Further, the manufacturers do not even grant independent auto dealers like CarMax access to their internal databases in order to search a manufacturer's website... This system is broken.”

Tyler Kidd, Counsel for CarMax, testified on Tuesday, June 17, before a legislative committee in Sacramento, and repeated CarMax's claim that the safety recall system for handling used cars “is broken.” He called for federal legislation to force auto manufacturers to allow non-franchised car dealerships like CarMax to perform auto safety recall repairs.

Under federal law, auto manufacturers are responsible for performing safety recalls, and work closely with their franchised dealers to oversee the repair process, often including providing specialized training for their dealers' auto technicians. CarMax can have recalled cars repaired free of charge by authorized franchised car dealers. The fact that CarMax is not permitted to make the repairs itself is no excuse for selling consumers unsafe, recalled cars-- particularly when CarMax advertises them as “Quality Certified” and as having passed a rigorous inspection.

In addition, CarMax's claims it cannot find out about vehicles' safety recall status ring hollow. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is easy for car dealers to check the safety recall status of used cars. In addition, as CarMax concedes in its letter opposing SB 686, NHTSA issued a final rule that takes full effect this August 14, to require ALL auto manufacturers who produce more than 25,000 vehicles a year to provide free, publicly accessible, VIN-searchable safety recall data on their own Websites, updated at least every 7 days.

RECENT CASE:

On May 19, the CarMax store in Irvine, CA, sold Clarence and Angela Davidson a used 2010 Dodge Ram. The couple had chosen to buy from CarMax because they have a 12-year-old daughter and 5-year-old grandson, and wanted a truck that was safe. But within days, when the Davidsons contacted Chrysler about a feature they wanted, the manufacturer's customer service representative informed them that their newly purchased truck was under a federal safety recall and had a serious safety defect.

Chrysler recalled the truck in 2013 because it was prone to literally falling apart on the road. Chrysler notified truck owners that “The rear axle pinion nut on your vehicle may loosen...[and] cause the rear axle to seize or cause the driveshaft to separate resulting in a loss of motive power. Either situation could cause a crash without warning.”

When they tried to return the truck, CarMax told them they owned it, and it was up to them to get the safety recall repaired. “I feel like CarMax is saying that our lives aren't worth anything, because we're not buying a new car,” said Angela Davidson.

The Davidsons took the truck to a Chrysler dealership to have the safety recall repairs performed. A few days later, on May 30, when the Davidsons were riding in the Mojave Desert with their 12-year-old daughter in the back seat of the cab, the truck fell apart and caught on fire. Clarence pulled their daughter out of the back seat just seconds before the entire truck exploded into flames. The fire burned several acres and authorities closed the highway for about 4 hours. The charred remains of the truck have not yet been inspected by an expert, so it's not clear at this time whether the safety recall caused the incident. However, it is clear CarMax sold the Davidsons an unsafe, recalled truck.

CARS warns used car buyers to always check the Vehicle Identification Number of any used car they are considering BEFORE they agree to anything. Consumers can find up-to-date safety recall information on most auto manufacturers' websites, or by calling the manufacturer's toll-free number or a local dealer, and providing the VIN.

Links to documents, video of hearing:

US SENATOR CHARLES SCHUMER URGES FTC TO CRACK DOWN ON USED-CAR DEALERS WHO CAN SELL CARS UNDER SAFETY RECALL TO UNWITTING CUSTOMERS
www.schumer.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=352957

Consumer groups' petition to FTC:
http://www.carconsumers.org/pdf/FTCpetitionCarMax.pdf

Recall notice Chrysler issued regarding the Davidson's Dodge Ram:
http://carconsumers.org/pdf/DavidsonDodgeRamrecallnotice.pdf

Videotaped testimony of CarMax's Counsel before the California Assembly Business and Professions Committee:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Njvig59E7h8

Video of entire hearing on SB 686 (Jackson):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC9raHVrNII

CarMax's letter of opposition to SB 686:
http://carconsumers.org/pdf/CarMaxoppositiontoCASB686-20140602.pdf
______________________________
1 “Recalled Used Cars Roam Roads as Legislation Stalls,” New York Times, front page, May 9, 2014, by RachelAdams and Christopher Jensen. (Emphasis added.)
2 SB 686, authored by state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), sponsored by CARS. Due to opposition by CarMax, the California New Car Dealers Association and other independent auto dealers, SB 686 was defeated by a 3-4 vote, with 7 members refusing to vote (same as voting “no”).


 


Stop auto dealers from playing
"recalled used car roulette"

Pass SB 686 (Jackson)
Prevent car crash injuries and deaths
Create over 1,000 new jobs for Californians
 
flood vehicle
 Actor Damien Snow and Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson.
A Nissan dealer in Southern California sold Damien Snow this unrepaired, recalled 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser with the same safety defect that killed Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, as his first car, when he turned 18.
California new and used car dealers keep getting caught selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers. News reports by the New York Times, Good Morning America, and many local TV stations throughout the state have documented case after case where dealers are putting their customers' lives at risk in unrepaired recalled used cars.

At the same time, dealers are opposing legislation to stop this indefensible practice. Statewide polling found that a whopping 88% of California voters favor banning car dealers from selling recalled used cars. So -- who will legislators listen to? Multi-millionaire car dealers who schmooze with them and contribute campaign cash? Or California voters?   Make your voice heard -- tell Sacramento politicians to stop car dealers from selling unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers.

Senator Boxer, Cally Houck (Mother of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck) and U.S. Rep. Lois Capps. All major rental car companies took Sen. Boxer's pledge, and are now working with Cally Houck and CARS to enact federal safety legislation.
Who is FOR this popular legislation? Consumer groups, safety organizations including SAFE KIDS California, State Farm Insurance Company (the nation's largest auto insurer), Hertz, Enterprise Rental Car Co., the Latino Business Association, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers ((IAMAW), whose members include automotive technicians who perform safety recall repairs. According to the IAMAW, enactment of SB 686 will "create at least 1,000 new jobs for automotive technicians in California, performing safety recall repairs on the millions of vehicles that still have outstanding safety recalls pending."


Read here: Who is for, and who is against, protecting the public from unsafe recalled used cars?
 


California Car Dealers Caught on Camera
Selling Recalled Used Cars
 
Dealers selling used cars with open safety recalls
Good Morning America
April 2, 2014
flood vehicle
 Credit: Good Morning America (ABC News)
Good Morning America undercover investigation features Damien Snow of Beverly Hills, who bought a used 2004 PT Cruiser from a major franchised new car dealership in Los Angeles, when he turned age 18, as his first car. Before he bought it, Chrysler had issued a safety recall for that car, because it had the exact same defect that killed Raechel and Jacqueline Houck -- a power steering hose that was prone to igniting an under-hood fire, and causing a loss of steering. After Chrysler issued the safety recall, the PT Cruiser was owned by major new car dealerships for Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan. Then the Nissan dealership sold it to Damien. None of the dealerships bothered to get the safety recall repairs done.

Good Morning America also finds car dealers selling unsafe, recalled used cars, claiming they are safe -- including the Chevy Cobalt with the ignition switch defect that led to GM's massive safety recall and hearings before the US House and Senate.

Watch the story:
abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2014/04/gma-investigates-are-used-car-dealers-selling-cars-with-open-recalls
 


Used car dealerships not getting recall repairs done
KPIX - TV (CBS, San Francisco and Bay Area)
May 13, 2014
Fresno man nearly killed by "certified" Dodge Ram that literally fell apart on the freeway


Click to watch the video report
 


Priced to sell, but are recalled cars safe to drive?
KTVU-TV (Fox, Oakland and Bay Area)
May 12, 2014
2 Investigates found vehicles with open safety recalls being sold at several Bay Area used car lots. They included vehicles with ignition switch recalls, recalls for power window switches that could catch fire and recalls for a tailgate that could break.
   


Recalled cars for sale
KOVR - TV (CBS, Channel 13, Sacramento)
February 3, 2013
 
Kurtis investigates
KOVR News:   Call Kurtis finds unfixed, recalled cars on
dealer lots
"CBS13 took its hidden cameras to used dealership lots in Sacramento to find out how commonplace these open-recall cars really are. A CBS13 producer easily found a dozen recalled cars at the three used car lots randomly checked in Sacramento. We found a Honda CR-V with a potentially dangerous airbag, a Toyota 4Runner with an accelerator pedal that could get stuck, and a Chevrolet Cobalt with fuel part prone to leak — a potential fire hazard.

Watch and read more:
CBS 13 finds a dozen recalled cars on used car lots in Sacramento
 


Used Cars Being Sold with Unfixed Safety Recalls
KABC-7 Los Angeles
December 3, 2012
recalled cars on a lot in L.A.
ABC Eyewitness News finds cars for sale with unfixed recalls
"On a used car lot in Hawthorne recently, Eyewitness News found several cars that were for sale with unfixed recalls. One Cadillac Escalade had three unfixed recalls, a Nissan Altima had four and a Chevrolet Silverado had 15.

Experts said some dealers do go the extra mile. "Many dealers will bring a used car up to speed on its recalls before they sell it and actually if they do it's a sign they take really good care of their cars and probably really good care of their customers," said Jeannine Fallon of Edmunds.com.

The National Automobile Dealers Association said the responsibility is on vehicle owners and used car buyers to get recalls fixed. "To improve safety, The National Automobile Dealers Association urges vehicle owners to have recalled vehicles fixed as soon as possible," it said.

Watch ABC News Report: ABC 7 Eyewitness News

CARS asks -- So -- WHY buy from a dealer, when they don't even take care of safety recalls???
 
 


Los Angeles Times: California bill would require recalled cars be repaired before sale
By David Undercoffler and Jerry Hirsch
May 13, 2014
"Used cars that get recalled by manufacturers need to be fixed before they're sold. That's what a bill pending in the California Legislature would require of all new and used car dealers in the state. And with 2014 on pace to break the auto industry records for most recalls in a year, the bill is taking on more urgency, supporters said Tuesday at a news conference. A vast majority of those recalls involve older vehicles. "This bill is absolutely critical for consumer safety, it's good for the economy and it puts California at forefront for car safety," said Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), the bill's sponsor Her bill (SB 686) would prohibit new and used car dealerships — regardless of size — from selling a used vehicle "if the dealer knows or should have known" that it had been recalled by its manufacturer. The dealer would be required to have the issue fixed — a cost covered by the automaker — or sell it to another dealer."

Read more: LA Times: California bill would require recalled cars be repaired before sale
 


Los Angeles Times: OPINION
When car recalls don't achieve what they're supposed to

May 9, 2014
"As the New York Times reports, the U.S. recall system has a significant gap with serious consequences for consumers....One would think that car dealers and resellers would, as vehicles pass through their hands, check to ensure that manufacturer recall repairs have been made. But there is no law compelling them to do so, The Times reports...."

Read more: L.A. Times
 


Recalled GM cars still pose danger
New York Times
April 9, 2014
By Rachel Adams and Hilary Stout
"The rising debate over whether the cars pose a continuing danger reflects not only scattered episodes like Mr. Hughes’s accident but also a growing uncertainty and impatience about the timetable for repairs and the simple fact that for all the publicity...most of the unrepaired cars are on the road....

Malisa Norman, a 35-year-old home health aide in Latta, S.C., was unaware of the recall when she bought a used 2007 Cobalt in February - days after the recall was announced.

A few weeks later she was driving near her home when she says the car suddenly stopped running, veered off the road and hit a tree. The air bags did not deploy, and Ms. Norman says she and her 18-year-old son were injured in the accident.

Ms. Norman purchased the car from E-Z Credit, a used-car dealership in Dillon, S.C. She said she was never told that her car had been recalled. She happened to have only a small angel ornament hanging from her key ring, but she said she had not been told there were any issues with items on a key chain. Drivers have been told by G.M. that extra weight on the car’s key ring can make a shutdown more likely.

When she returned to the dealership to complain, Ms. Norman said she was told to watch the news for recall information.
“I was like, ‘I didn’t get the car from the news,' ” she said. “Why should I get this from the news when I ain’t paying the news?”

Read more:
Debate Over Risk of Driving GM's Recalled Cars
 


Buying a Used Car? Check for Safety Recalls
KSAT-TV San Antonio, TX
April 22, 2014
KSAT-TV undercover investigation finds car dealers who claim recalled used cars are safe -- without even bothering to check.

flood vehicle
 KSAT-TV in San Antonio, TX goes undercover to find out what auto dealers who sell used cars tell customers about safety recalls.
"More than 9 million vehicles have been recalled so far this year for safety reasons, most notably the recent GM recall. More than 3.5 million used cars were listed for sale online nationwide last year with unfixed safety recalls, according to Carfax, which collects vehicle history information...

At a different used car lot, the undercover producer inquired about a 2004 Saturn Ion, another GM vehicle under open recall. Again, the salesman said the car was a "very safe car." When the producer with the hidden camera asked if the car was under recall, he said, "No, nothing at all, as far as I know." Later, when responding to the [KSAT-TV producer], a manager said they sell cars "as is" and that it is up to the buyer to find out about recalls.

 


"Carfax figures indicate an alarming number of recalled cars
are sold without being fixed."

Washington Post
April 3, 2014
By Steven Mufson and Michael A. Fletcher
 
"Up to a third of automobiles recalled for safety defects are never repaired, and last year 3.5 million recalled cars and light trucks were offered for sale online to unsuspecting buyers, according to figures compiled by Carfax. Christopher Basso, spokesman for Carfax, a Web-based service that compiles history reports for used-car buyers, said there are an “alarming number that never get fixed and are sold without anyone knowing a recall exists.”.... Basso’s warning echoes the findings of a June 2011 Government Accountability Office report...

For those who buy used cars, the problem is particularly acute, the GAO said. “NHTSA [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] does not have authority to notify potential used car buyers of a defect” or to order manufacturers to notify used car dealerships that in 2009 sold 11 million cars, the agency said. “As a result, many consumers may be unknowingly putting their lives at risk by purchasing a defective vehicle.”

Washington Post: "Carfax figures indicate an alarming number of recalled cars are sold without being fixed."



Recalled Used Cars Roam the Roads as Federal Legislation Stalls

New York Times

Front page
May 8, 2014
By Rachel Abrams and Christopher Jensen
Matthew Wald contributed to this report
 
"David Clayton was driving 70 miles an hour in his Ram 1500 pickup truck last October when he learned the hard way that it had a serious safety problem. The rear axle locked up, causing him to nearly lose control before wrestling the truck to the side of the highway. Chrysler knew about the axle defect, and had ordered a recall of the pickup before Mr. Clayton bought it used last July from a dealer in Visalia, Calif. But the dealer never had the axle repaired — and was not required to do so under the law."

"It should be a slam dunk," David J. Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, said of required repairs. "To me it is hard to oppose ensuring that people who buy a car, whether it is new or used, or whether you are renting a vehicle, can have the confidence that it is safe.''
....

"It’s just a question of how long it will take and how many people have to be killed or injured before it happens," said Rosemary Shahan, the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, an advocacy group pushing for legislation."

CARS note: David Clayton bought his pickup truck from a Dodge - Chrysler - Jeep new car dealership that sold it to him as a "Factory-Backed Certified" vehicle that had undergone a rigorous 125-point inspection, and handed him a checklist that checked off "perform outstanding vehicle campaigns."

Read more:  New York Times: "Recalled Used Cars Roam the Roads" May 8, 2014
 


Sen. Boxer urges
General Motors CEO Mary Barra
to support Rental Car Safety Legislation
GM is Part of Industry Trade Group Lobbying to Block Legislation to Protect Consumers from
Unsafe, Recalled Rental Cars
 
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today sent a letter urging General Motors CEO Mary Barra to support the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, bipartisan legislation that would help protect consumers by keeping unsafe, recalled rental cars off the road.

Last week, at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on GM’s recall of 2.6 million vehicles, Senator Boxer questioned Barra about GM’s troubling opposition to the legislation – through the industry trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – in light of the company’s promise to cover the cost of interim rental vehicles while customers wait for their vehicles to be repaired. Barra agreed at the hearing to take a closer look at the legislation.

Senator Boxer wrote, “Your support for this bill is critical because right now there is no guarantee that your customers are renting safe cars while they wait for their recalled vehicles to be repaired.”

Senator Boxer introduced the legislation with Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) after two of Boxer’s constituents – Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two sisters from Santa Cruz – were killed in a tragic accident in 2004 while driving a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser that had been recalled for a power steering hose defect but had not been repaired. The car caught fire because of the defect while traveling on Highway 101 in Monterey County, causing a loss of steering and a head-on collision with a semi-trailer truck.

In September 2012, Senators Boxer, Schumer and McCaskill announced that all major car rental companies – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty, and National – agreed to voluntarily stop the renting or selling of vehicles that have been recalled by their manufacturer and endorsed the legislation.

Although the bipartisan bill has the support of the major rental car companies and consumer advocates, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – which includes GM – has opposed the bill and is working to prevent it from moving forward in the Senate. The National Automobile Dealers Association, which includes many GM franchise dealerships, is also opposed to the legislation.

“You testified that ‘When there’s a safety issue, there should never be a business consideration that goes against it’,” Senator Boxer continued. “I hope you will take this to heart as you review this legislation.”

The legislation is also endorsed by American Car Rental Association, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumers Union, and State Farm Insurance. The bill also has the support of Cally Houck, the mother of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck.

The full text of the letter follows:
 
April 8, 2014

Mary T. Barra, Chief Executive Officer

General Motors Company
P.O. Box 33170
Detroit, MI 48232-5170

Dear Ms. Barra:

During your testimony before the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance, you stated that you had not read S. 921, the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, which is named after two sisters from Santa Cruz who were killed when a recalled car they had rented caught fire and crashed into a truck.

This legislation, which was first introduced in 2012, would:
 
  • Prohibit the rental or sale of rental vehicles subject to a federal safety recall, consistent with existing law for new car dealers, who are prohibited from selling or leasing recalled vehicles.
  • Require rental companies to ground vehicles within 24 hours of receiving a safety recall notice from the manufacturer. Companies with fleets over 5,000 vehicles would have up to 48 hours.
  • Permit rental companies to implement temporary measures to eliminate the safety risk until parts are available.
  • Allow manufacturers to continue to issue technical service bulletins or customer satisfaction service campaigns for problems that do not rise to the level of a federal safety recall.
  •  
    Your support for this bill is critical because right now there is no guarantee that your customers are renting safe cars while they wait for their recalled vehicles to be repaired.

    You testified that “When there’s a safety issue, there should never be a business consideration that goes against it.” I hope you will take this to heart as you review this legislation.

    Sincerely,

    Barbara Boxer
    United States Senator

     


     
    CA Senator Barbara Boxer
    challenges GM CEO Mary Barra:
    Stop opposing federal rental car / safety recall bill
     
    Barra claims GM no longer places top priority on costs, at the expense of its customers' safety. But the sole reason that GM and the Auto Alliance give for opposing the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act? They don't want to face having to pay rental car companies for lost revenue if they have to ground vehicles that are under a safety recall, pending repairs. Apparently GM anticipates making a lot more unsafe vehicles that will be subject to safety recalls. Hardly reassuring.
     

    BOXER PRESSES GENERAL MOTORS CEO MARY BARRA ON RENTAL CAR SAFETY
    Senator Asks Why GM Is Part of Industry Effort to Block Legislation to Protect Consumers from Unsafe, Recalled Rental Cars – While at the Same Time Placing Owners of Its Own Recalled Cars into Rental Vehicles
     
    Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today questioned General Motors CEO Mary Barra on rental car safety at a Senate Commerce Subcommittee hearing on GM’s recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Senator Boxer asked Barra to explain GM’s opposition – through the industry trade group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – to the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, which would protect consumers from unsafe rental vehicles under recall – at the same time that GM is placing owners of its own recalled vehicles into rental cars.

    To view the video of Senator Boxer’s exchange with Barra on her official website, please click here.

    “Do you support a proposed law by Senator McCaskill and myself that would say recalled cars like yours can no longer be rented or loaned?” Senator Boxer asked.

    After Barra refused to commit to supporting the bill, Senator Boxer responded: “Now you should know that my constituent Cally Houck lost her two daughters, Raechel, 24, and Jacquie, 20, in a tragic accident caused by an unrepaired safety defect in a rental car they were driving. So [with] Senator Schumer and McCaskill, we wrote the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act. And you know what, the rental car people support it, but you don’t. The automobile manufacturers don’t. So you are essentially bragging today, if I may use the word, that you’re telling your people to get another car, but at the same time your lobbying organization is opposing a bill that would make sure no one would die the way they died.”

    While current law prohibits car dealerships from selling new vehicles under recall to consumers, no law bans rental car companies from doing the same or renting them to unsuspecting consumers. The Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act – sponsored by Senator Boxer and Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) – would keep unsafe rental cars that have been recalled off the road.

    The bipartisan bill is named in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two sisters from Santa Cruz, who were killed in a tragic accident in 2004 while driving a rented Chrysler PT Cruiser that had been recalled for a power steering hose defect but had not been repaired. The car caught fire because of the defect while traveling on Highway 101 in Monterey County, causing a loss of steering and a head-on collision with a semi-trailer truck.

    In September 2012, Senators Boxer, Schumer and McCaskill announced that all major car rental companies – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis Budget, Dollar Thrifty, and National – agreed to voluntarily stop the renting or selling of vehicles that have been recalled by their manufacturer and endorsed the legislation.

    Although the bill has the support of the major rental car companies and consumer advocates, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – which includes GM – has opposed the bill and is working to prevent it from moving forward in the Senate. The National Automobile Dealers Association, which includes many GM franchise dealerships, is also opposed to the legislation.

    Boxer made clear that Barra’s stance is especially troubling in light of GM’s promise to cover the cost of interim rental vehicles while its customers wait for their vehicles to be repaired. Although the major rental car companies have pledged to keep unsafe vehicles off the road, there is no assurance that a driver will be placed in a safer vehicle since there is no federal law that prevents unsafe, recalled vehicles from being sold or rented to consumers.

    Senator Boxer pointed out, “So you can send your owner of one of these cars to a rental place to get a loaner … and they could get a defective car.”

    The legislation is also endorsed by American Car Rental Association, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, Consumers Union, and State Farm Insurance.
     


     
    GM continues to oppose Rental Car Safety Recall Legislation pending in Congress
     
    GM CEO Mary Barra's mantra when she testified before Congress is that the "new" GM has changed its corporate culture from focusing on "costs" to focusing on "safety" and being more customer-friendly. In order to make its case more persuasive, GM is offering owners of recalled Cobalts and Saturn Ions and other vehicles with the ignition switch defect a loaner or rental car, provided by a GM dealer. According to Barra's testimony for the US House on Tuesday, GM and its dealers have loaned 13,000 vehicles to its customers.

    But is that claim credible? Sadly, not when it comes to protecting its customers from unsafe, recalled cars -- if they happen to be rental cars. GM is among the members of the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers, which has been actively blocking passage of the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act, named for two California sisters, ages 20 and 24, who were killed on October 7, 2004 by a 2004 Chrysler PT Cruiser that Enterprise Rental Car Company rented to them, despite a power steering hose defect that led Chrysler to issue a safety recall of the vehicle about 30 days before Enterprise rented it to Raechel and Jacquie -- without having the safety defect repaired.

    The Act, S 921, is championed by Senators Schumer, Boxer, Blumenthal, and McCaskill, whose subcommittee held a hearing last May, where Cally Houck of Ojai, CA, Raechel and Jacquie's mother, testified. The Act would simply prohibit rental car companies from renting unsafe, defective recalled vehicles to consumers, until the safety recall repairs have been performed. After initially opposing the bill, Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, and many smaller rental car companies, including the American Rental Car Association, have joined forces with consumer groups to work for its enactment. The bill passed in the full Senate Commerce Committee on a unanimous voice vote. However, the Alliance and the National Automobile Dealers Association remain opposed and are blocking its enactment, urging Senators not to join in co-sponsoring the safety legislation.

    According to the Auto Alliance, its opposition stems from manufacturers' concerns that they may be held liable for compensating rental car companies for lost revenue while recalled vehicles are grounded, pending repairs. Consumer groups counter that since they made the defective products, they should be held responsible. In addition, manufacturers often sue their own suppliers or otherwise negotiate for compensation from suppliers for recall costs.

    The National Automobile Dealers Association scoffs at what it considers "minor" safety recalls, and insists that the bill should apply only to the extremely rare circumstances when a manufacturer issues a "Do Not Drive" warning to its customers -- ignoring the fact that many consumers with recalled vehicles choose on their own to drive them as little as possible, but often depend on their vehicles to get to work, school, or medical appointment. Plus, consumers are in a very different position from rental car companies and dealers who are in the business of selling or renting vehicles to the public.

    View testimony presented at US Senate Hearing on the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act:
     
     
     
    Cally Houck, who lost two daughters in horrific crash, and auto manufacturers and dealers testify.
    Full hearing before US Senate Subcommittee
     


    Auto dealers oppose California legislation to stop them from loaning, leasing, or renting recalled cars to consumers
     
    More, including video of testimony by auto dealer lobbyists and survivors of runaway Toyota Lexus crash that led to massive Toyota recall: Auto dealers oppose California legislation to stop them from loaning, leasing, or renting recalled cars to consumers.
     


    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and U.S. Department of Justice Tackle auto dealer markups on auto loans
     
    CARS President joins civil rights, consumer rights leaders on auto lending panel at CFPB
     
    Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Federal regulators, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have put auto lenders on notice they face a new level of scrutiny over their discriminatory auto lending practices, which result in minority car buyers being charged extra amounts in hidden excessive interest rates, despite having the same credit as non-minority borrowers.

    According to CFPB Director Richard Cordray, "Some people end up paying more on their auto loans than their neighbors – with the difference being not their creditworthiness but their race or ethnicity. Such discrimination may result in millions of dollars in unjustified consumer harm every year in the auto lending industry."

    Lenders such as Ally Bank have notified stockholders that they face the possibility of fines or other penalties linked to legal action over discriminatory auto lending. Ally Bank, formerly named the General Motors Acceptance Corporation, collapsed during the recession and was bailed out by taxpayers, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars. In 2004, GMAC settled similar litigation brought on behalf of African American and Latino borrowers who were charged higher dealer "markups" than their white counterparts who had similar credit.
    Washington, DC (11/14/13): CARS President testifies at Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Auto Finance Forum regarding auto dealer markups on auto loans


    New York Times: Scrutiny over disparity in loan fees at auto dealerships

    CARS President Rosemary Shahan testified on a panel with Stuart Rossman from the National Consumer Law Center, Hilary Shelton from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and a representative of the Minority Auto Dealers Association. Rosemary stated that CARS opposes dealers being able to charge extra hidden fees that add to the interest rates consumers pay for auto financing. For many years, CARS has spearheaded efforts in California to reduce the risk of discriminatory auto lending and the costs car buyers pay for dealer markups. In 2004, CARS sought to cap dealer markups at $150 per transaction, via the Car Buyer Bill of Rights, a ballot initiative that statewide polling showed to be extremely popular. As the result of a watered-down legislative compromise, CA ended up with caps on dealer markups -- 2.5% for loans up to 60 months and 2% for longer loans. Except for Louisiana, California is the only state with a law that caps dealer markups.

    On October 30, CARS filed the Car Buyers Protection Act, a new ballot initiative to make newer, cleaner, safer vehicles more affordable, including flat-out prohibiting dealer markups on auto financing. Among likely voters in 2014, that provision polls at an overwhelming 82% support.

    Spokespersons testify before Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Auto Finance Forum. Panelists (from left): Rohit Chopra (CFPB), Damon Lester (National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers), Rosemary Shahan (CARS), Hilary Shelton (NAACP), Stuart Rossman (National Consumer Law Center)
     
    Read more:

    CFPB Director Richard Corday's remarks at the CFPB's Auto Finance Forum


    Civil rights and consumer advocacy groups clash with auto dealers and lenders --
    watch video of Consumer Financial Protection Forum on Auto Financing

    Wall Street Journal: Banks press car dealers on loan practice

    US Department of Justice files lawsuit alleging auto lending discrimination in Los Angeles

    LA Times: "Car dealer, immigrants settle suit -- Chinese-speaking buyers were falsely told bad credit meant they must take high-interest loans, plaintiffs say. Financial award is undisclosed."

    NY Times: GM nears settlement in lawsuit over lending

    ###




     
    CARS files Car Buyers Protection Act Initiative
    for the Nov. 2014 Ballot in California

     
    Statewide polling shows overwhelming support among likely voters
    88% favor safety recall provision

    The Car Buyers Protection Act will:
    • Make it illegal for car dealers to sell, rent, lease, or loan used vehicles that are under a federal safety recall, unless the safety recall repairs have been performed
    • Improve protections for car buyers who are victims of ID theft at auto dealerships
    • Prohibit dealers from hiring people convicted of ID theft, forgery, or other fraud, for positions where they would have access to car buyers' personal financial information
    • Prohibit dealers from engaging in "bait and switch" financing (also known as yo-yo financing)
    • Prohibit dealer markups – hidden extra charges that raise the cost of financing car purchases and cost California car buyers over $2.6 billion in a single year
    • Require all dealers to provide at least a 30 day / 1,000 mile warranty (currently, only “buy here pay here” dealers are required to provide minimum warranties, so many other dealers continue to sell faulty vehicles “AS IS”)
    • Eliminate the New Motor Vehicle Board's authority to overrule the DMV when the agency disciplines an auto dealer or manufacturer for violating consumer protection laws
     
    Read more:
     
    News Release

    California Statewide Polling Results

    Car Buyers Protection Act -- Summary and background about each provision

    TEXT of Car Buyers Protection Act filed with CA Attorney General

     


     
    Auto dealers and auto manufacturers trying to kill rental car safety bill
    Representatives of the auto manufacturers and new car dealers testify against the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, before the US Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Insurance and Product Safety
    New car dealers and auto manufacturers are lobbying Congress behind the scenes in an attempt to derail the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act, which would prohibit rental car companies from renting unsafe, recalled vehicles to the public unless the safety recall repairs have been performed.

    The dealers complain that some of them own rental car companies on the side, and they don't want to lose any revenue from renting cars just because they're unsafe. The auto manufacturers argue that even though they made the defective cars, they shouldn't have to worry about compensating rental car companies for lost revenue when the vehicles are out of service, while the safety recall repairs are performed.

    The dealers want to be able to pick and choose which safety recalls are serious enough to require them to fix the car first. That would also allow them to choose who ends up riding in the unsafe cars. Under current law, the dealers are prohibited from selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers -- if the cars are NEW. But there's no law that keeps dealers from renting recalled cars to unsuspecting consumers.
     
    The Moment of Truth:  Should rental car companies be allowed to rent cars to the public when they are under a safety recall?
    Even in Missouri, home of the nation's largest rental car company, a whopping 86% of the public says NO.
    What do the auto manufacturers and car dealers say? See for yourself:
     
     
    Note: the car dealer representative also said that the dealers who own rental car companies should be the ones to decide which recalled cars are safe enough to keep renting, without getting them repaired. Instead of grounding unsafe, recalled cars until they're fixed, they prefer to "disclose" they're being recalled. Then if you drive a recalled rental car and are injured or killed, they can say that it was your fault because you "assumed the risk." Nevermind the fact they deliberately rented you an unsafe car.
     


    BOXER PRAISES COMMITTEE PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO ENSURE SAFETY OF AMERICA’S RENTAL CAR CUSTOMERS
     
    Legislation Would End the Practice of Renting or Selling Vehicles Under Safety Recall
     
    Cally Houck testifies before US Senate Subcommittee, framed by photos of her daughters Raechel and Jacqueline
    Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today praised the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s passage of the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act of 2013, legislation that will ensure the safety of America’s rental car fleet by preventing rental car companies from renting or selling cars or trucks that are under safety recall. Senator Boxer is a lead sponsor of the bipartisan measure along with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO). The bill passed the committee by a unanimous voice vote.

    The legislation is named in honor of Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, two sisters from Santa Cruz, ages 24 and 20, who were killed while driving a recalled Chrysler PT Cruiser they had rented from Enterprise in 2004. About a month before the deadly crash,
    Cally Houck
    CA Senator Boxer questions auto manufacturers and car dealers, who oppose S 921. Next to Sen. Boxer: photo of Jacqueline and Raechel Houck
    Enterprise received a recall notice that the PT Cruiser had a defective power steering hose that was prone to catching fire and that it would be repaired by Chrysler free-of-charge. Despite the warning, Enterprise did not get the vehicle repaired and rented it out to three other customers before renting it to the Houck sisters. The defect caused the car to catch fire and crash head-on into a tractor-trailer, killing both sisters.

    Their mother, Cally Houck, has since joined with consumer groups in support of the legislation, which would close a loophole in safety standards by requiring rental car companies to ground recalled vehicles as soon as they receive a safety recall notice and prohibit them from being rented or sold until they are fixed. Auto-dealers are already subject to these requirements and the bill would simply extend the same requirements to rental car companies.

    MO Sen. McCaskill, Chair of the Senate Subcommittee, and NV Sen. Heller, greet Cally Houck before hearing begins
    “Today the Commerce Committee paid tribute to two of my California constituents who lost their lives in a senseless tragedy by passing the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act,” Senator Boxer said. “This bill will protect our families by keeping vehicles under safety recall off our roads, and I will be working hard to ensure its passage by the full Senate.”

    “If this bill had been in effect when my daughters rented that recalled car, they would still be alive today,” said Cally Houck. “No other parents should have to suffer such a horrific loss because a rental car company hasn’t bothered to get an unsafe recalled car repaired.”

    “We’re one major step closer to putting an end to ‘recalled rental car roulette',” added Rosemary Shahan, President of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety.

    Sentators Boxer and Feinstein speaking together
    Senator Charles Schumer
    The legislation is supported by all of the major car rental companies – Hertz, Enterprise, Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty – as well as Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Center for Auto Safety, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the Trauma Foundation.

    ###




    Recalled Used Car Roulette
    Auto Dealers Sell Unsafe, Recalled Used Cars

    LaQuata Williams, mother of 3, was nearly killed when the rear axle broke on this 2002 Ford Windstar. The next day, she contacted Ford and found out the minivan had an open safety recall when the dealer sold it to her.
    Auto dealers to California legislators:
    Don't stop us from selling unsafe, recalled used cars
    Auto dealers and their lobbyists stalled popular, common-sense auto safety legislation in Sacramento aimed at stopping them from renting, selling, leasing, or loaning unsafe, recalled used cars to consumers. They complained that it's impossible for them to know whether the used cars they offer for sale to the public are subject to a federal safety recall. They told legislators that it's too much bother to check the safety recall status of used cars. They said it would take too much effort to get unsafe, defective used cars fixed, prior to sale -- even though the repairs are FREE. They also complained about having to delay sales if parts for repairing the safety defects are temporarily unavailable.

    Their lobbyists refused to answer pointed questions posed by Assemblymember Roger Dickinson (D-Sacramento), a former lemon law attorney with decades of experience representing owners of unsafe lemon vehicles. He asked them: "You sell them to people? Is that what you do? You sell a car that you know may be unsafe to someone?"

    Dealer lobbyist: "But the part isn't available to fix. So is your suggestion..."

    Dickinson: "Wait, wait. No. Answer the question."
     
     
    Car dealers try to kill safety recall bill: caught on video
     

    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.

    Fe Lastrella testifies about the horrific crash that claimed the lives of her daughter, son, granddaughter, and son-in-law, and urges lawmakers to enact SB 686, to help prevent other families from suffering such tragic losses
    Tragically, even new car buyers are not safe. As Fe Lastrella of Vallejo, CA testified at the hearing, she lost four family members who were killed by an unsafe Lexus that Bob Baker Lexus in El Cajon, CA loaned to her son-in-law, CHP officer Mark Saylor. Earlier, he had purchased a new Lexus IS 250 sedan. On the fateful day of August 28, 2009, he dropped his new car off for repairs. The dealership loaned him a used 2009 Lexus ES 350. Three days earlier, another customer had complained that the Lexus had surged out of control. Yet the dealer failed to fix it.

    Later that day, Mark Saylor was riding with his wife Cleofe Lastrella Saylor, their daughter Mahala, age 13, and his brother-in-law Chris Lastrella enroute to a soccer game. The loaner Lexus accelerated out of control and sped down the freeway, reaching speeds of 120 mph. Chris Lastrella called 911. That call has now been heard around the world. He told the dispatcher that "our accelerator is stuck." He reported that "we're going 120" as the runaway loaner car approached an intersection, where the freeway ended. The killer car hit another car, crossed the curb, hit a dirt embankment, became airborne, and then rolled into a dry creek bed, where it burst into flames. All four perished. At the very end of the call, Chris's voice is heard telling his family to "hold on" and "pray, pray, pray."

    A car dealer in San Diego loaned this Lexus to CHP Officer Mark Saylor, while his new Lexus was being repaired. Hours later, he and his family were killed, when the loaner car accelerated out of control. Dealers argue that even if this car had been under a safety recall, it should be perfectly legal for the dealer to loan it out -- without getting the safety recall repairs done first. Credit: NBC San Diego
    Fe Lastrella, a retired school teacher, and her husband Cleto, who retired as a Command Master Chief from the U.S. Navy, lost their daughter, Cleofe, their son Chris, their granddaughter Mahala and son-in-law Mark Saylor in the crash.

    According to investigations by the San Diego Sheriff's Department, the California Highway Patrol's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an oversized, rubber, all-weather floor mat was in the driver's side foot well of the loaner Lexus. The mat was designed for a Lexus sport-utility vehicle, an RX 400H, and was longer than the mats designed for the ES 350 sedan. The investigations found that the floor mat was fused to the accelerator pedal.

    Who is working to get the safety recall bill, SB 686, made into law?
    • Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (official sponsors, taking the lead in working with Sen. Jackson for enactment)
    • 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
    • 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
    • Enterprise Holdings
    • Firefighters Burn Institute
    • Hertz Corporation
    • Latino Business Association
    • National Consumers League
    • SAFE KIDS CA
    • State Farm Insurance Co.
    • Trauma Foundation
    • Retired New Car Dealer Salvatore Cerrito
    Who is trying to kill the 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.)
    Senator Jackson vowed to keep on fighting to outlaw auto dealers from engaging in "recalled used car roulette." The soonest SB 686 can be revived is next January. Meanwhile, the smartest thing to do is NEVER trust a car dealer to make sure any car you buy is safe. They have testified that they don't have a clue, and it's too much bother to check.

    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






     
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    Visit the facebook page to demand that
    CarMax stop selling unsafe, recalled cars!
    Take Action
    Stop CarMax from selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers.
    CarMax is the largest retailer of used cars in the country. CarMax advertises that all its cars must pass a rigorous "125+-point inspection." But -- what they don't advertise is that they fail to get free safety recall repairs done on cars they sell to consumers.

    CarMax is selling recalled cars with safety defects like catching on fire, brakes that fail, ignition switches that make the car die in traffic, axles that break, and faulty seat belts. All under a safety recall. None of them fixed. Just waiting for sale on a CarMax lot near you.

    Think this should stop? Sign CARS' petition to CarMax:
    Stop CarMax from selling unsafe, recalled cars to consumers

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    Buyer beware: NEVER trust that a dealer will have the safety recall repairs performed before selling you a car that is being recalled. Dealers are so eager to make a buck, fast, they are unwilling to delay sales long enough to get the safety recall repairs done -- for FREE.

    Plus -- dealers are actively opposing legislation in Washington, DC and in California that would prohibit them from renting, selling, leasing, or loaning unsafe, recalled vehicles to consumers, unless the safety recall repairs have been performed first.

    CARS’ tips on how to buy a safe, reliable used car — without having to risk going to a dealer:

    Top 12 used car buying tips

    Dealers playing “used car roulette” with customers’ lives — and opposing legislation to make them stop

    Did a dealer sell you an unsafe, recalled car? We want to hear your story. Contact CARS

     
    Buyer Beware! Auto dealers' one-
    sided contracts can ruin your life
    Even if the dealer breaks the law, you might not be able to get justice. Forced arbitration clauses hidden in the fine print can keep you tied up for years. The dealer even gets to pick the arbitrator who hears your case. Here's what happened to a car buyer in San Diego:
    Think this is outrageous? Call your member of Congress at 202-224-3121, and urge them to vote for the Arbitration Fairness Act. More about the AFA, now pending before Congress:
    http://www.fairarbitrationnow.org
     
    Here's what we're doing to bring
    more attention to Jon's plight:
    UsedCarNightmare.org
     
    Used Car Nightmare logo

    Jon Perz has started a new petition
    on the Change.org website
     
    You're invited to check it out and send a message letting Mossy Toyota know what you think.
    used car nightmare petition


     
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