Consumers for
Auto
Reliability and
Safety ®

About C.A.R.S.

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety is a national, award-winning non-profit auto safety and consumer advocacy organization. CARS works to save lives, prevent injuries, and protect consumers from auto-related fraud and abuse.

CARS has led numerous successful campaigns to enact landmark consumer protection laws that benefit millions of new and used car buyers across the U.S. and in California, the nation's largest auto market.

CARS gives former Marine Cpl. William Woods, a veteran of the war in Iraq, a safe, reliable used car so he can search for a job, and take his dog with him, after he was stuck without a car because an unscrupulous dealer sold him a used lemon that had been severely wrecked and was unsafe to drive.

The President of CARS is best-known for initiating California's auto lemon law, which became the model for similar laws enacted in all 50 states. State lemon laws made auto manufacturers improve the quality of their vehicles, invest in updated diagnostic equipment, hire more highly trained auto mechanics, and take other steps to avoid having to provide refunds for seriously defective autos. Lemon laws have also forced auto manufacturers to buy back hundreds of thousands of defective vehicles that they failed to repair under their new car warranties.

CARS succeed in gaining passage of first-in-the nation legislation to expand California's lemon law to cover military servicemembers and their families. Toyota and other auto manufacturers worked behind the scenes in an attempt to derail the law, but we won. CARS also won against the Chamber of Commerce in the battle to free California lemon owners from being silenced by manufacturers and forced to sign "gag" agreements as a condition of repurchasing their lemon cars. Before we won, it was much easier for unscrupulous auto manufacturers to engage in "lemon laundering," or illegally reselling lemon cars to subsequent car buyers --without fixing the defects or disclosing their lemon histories -- knowing the consumers who owned them first couldn't talk about their lemon's defects and their horrible experiences to anyone.

CARS has also spearheaded numerous protections for used car buyers, including improving protections against crooked dealers who sell rebuilt wrecks and flood cars that often are unsafe to drive and worth far less than the dealers charge consumers to buy them.

CARS President Rosemary Shahan testifies for the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Rental Car Safety Act before a key U. S. Senate Commerce Subcommittee. Representatives of the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers and the National Auto Dealers Association testified in opposition. The Act became law, despite their opposition. (Read more)

Since the early 1980s, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly invited the President of CARS to testify on behalf of American consumers. She has testified regarding forced arbitration in auto contracts, predatory and discriminatory auto lending, salvage and flood vehicles and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System, and auto safety -- including rental car safety and air bags.
CARS' Congressional testimony

CARS Founder Rosemary Shahan with Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The President of CARS was also invited by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to testify regarding discriminatory auto lending, along with other representatives from consumer organizations, civil rights groups, and the auto industry. The CFPB has cracked down against auto lenders who engaged in discriminatory lending, overcharging African American and Latino car buyers hidden fees that cost them billions of dollars. Those overcharges, known as dealer "markups," are basically kickbacks lenders give dealers in exchange for routing auto loans to them, so they can bundle them and sell them on Wall Street. The added charges were not based on the car buyers' creditworthiness, but on their race. The CFPB has forced discriminatory auto lenders to pay over $150 million in fines and refunds to car buyers who were cheated over their loans.


 
Serving on the Boards of Leading Consumer Organizations
The Board of Directors of the Consumer Federation of California honors Board Member Dolores Huerta, Legendary Civil Rights Activist

The Founder of CARS, Rosemary Shahan, has been repeatedly re-elected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Federation of America. CFA is the nation's largest consumer organization, and is comprised of over 300 member organizations, with a combined membership of over 50 million people. For over 20 years, she has served as co-chair of CFA's Committee on Housing and Transportation, playing an important role in developing the consumer movement's policies on transportation issues. Shahan has also been repeatedly re-elected to serve as Vice-President of the Consumer Federation of California.
 


Quotes about CARS
CARS Founder "Rosemary Shahan is a real example of a citizen-activist. She is as tenacious as a bulldog, consistent as the Milky Way, and as humane in her own way as Mother Teresa."
-- Ralph Nader, consumer advocate. From "Safe Passage: driven to push for better auto laws,"
San Diego Union-Tribune, June 15, 1991
 
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"With more than 35 years of consumer-rights activism under her belt, there's no end in sight for Rosemary Shahan as she plunges into yet another campaign for consumer safety in the auto industry...."
-- from Davis Enterprise, 35 Years of Fighting for Auto Safety, June 19, 2015
 
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"Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS)...has been the driver of some of the most important advances in auto-related safety and financial protection regulation on the books today.""
-- From "Auto safety activist Rosemary Shahan turns lemons into legislation," Los Angeles Times,
April 1, 2012
 
More Quotes about CARS
Awards presented to CARS
CARS has received many prestigious awards in recognition of our public interest work, including the Consumer Federation of America's Esther Peterson Consumer Service Award, widely recognized as the nation's highest honor for a lifetime of public service on behalf of consumers. This coveted award is named for Esther Peterson, Consumer Advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Carter.

More Awards Presented to CARS

CARS in the News
Credit: NBC News Los Angeles - July 13, 2015
CARS has amassed a decades-long track record of generating widespread international news and award-winning news reports, including major reports in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, CNN, 20/20, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reader's Digest, Parade Magazine, National Public Radio, PBS, and Huffington Post. CARS' president is frequently contacted as a source by leading journalists and is widely quoted as an expert on cutting-edge auto safety, sales, and financing issues.

More CARS in the News

 
Over 573,500 people have signed
CARS' petitions on Change.org
 
CarMax: Stop Selling Unsafe, Recalled Cars to Consumers More signatures and comments are needed. CarMax still refuses to stop!

VICTORY: Enterprise Rent-a-Car: Stop Opposing a Law Prohibiting Companies from Renting Out Recalled Cars*

VICTORY: Rep. Fred Upton: Support the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act*

VICTORY: Stop Toyota from Cheating U.S. Military Serving Overseas*

*posted and updated in coordination with Cally Houck and Christina Snell,
to help give them a more powerful voice in improving auto safety for others
 
CARS Videos are Popular on YouTube
Over 1.3 million viewers have watched the video CARS produced about Jon Perz' ordeal over an unsafe lemon car. Mossy Toyota, a San Diego area dealership, claimed the car was a cream-of-the-crop "certified" car. But he soon discovered that it was unsafe to drive. It took over 7 years for him to get a refund, because Mossy got his legal case sent to "arbitration." Then the dealer failed to pay the fee required by the arbitration firm. The arbitration firm dumped Mossy Toyota due to non-payment -- leaving Jon in the lurch. It's amazing he kept persisting for so long, until he finally won.

Unfortunately, many car dealers pull this ploy, causing their victims a lot of hardship. How many consumers would be that persistent? No wonder car dealers love forced arbitration.
 
 
 
 
Over 542,000 viewers have watched this video on CARS' YouTube channel, excerpted from a report that CARS worked with ABC's 20/20 to produce, providing expertise about CarMax's practices. CARS has been on the forefront in exposing CarMax's deceptive sales of unsafe cars with unrepaired safety recall defects.

 
CARS in 90 seconds
As part of Consumer Union's 75th anniversary celebration, the non-profit consumer group launched a new "Consumer Reports Excellence in Consumer Advocacy Award." More than 150 individuals and groups were nominated. Then Consumers Union narrowed the field to five finalists based on their effectiveness, reach, relevance, organizing and ability to continue on with their work -- and one of them was CARS! CU asked each of the finalists to produce a 90-second video about their work.
 
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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.

THANK YOU!
to everyone who has supported CARS' work, including the more than 573,500 people who have contributed financially to CARS, signed or shared CARS' petitions, and / or posted personal comments.

Read more here
 

 
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Buyer Beware: CarMax sells cars with killer safety defects.
Advertises cars passed "rigorous inspection" and qualify as "CarMax Quality Certified" without getting safety recall defects fixed.

 
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Learn more
about the
CARS Foundation
 
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Help tell the
world that
We DO Count!
 

Take Action
 

Join our campaign on Facebook!
Take Action
Sign CARS' petition: Tell CarMax to stop 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 car 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 often gets to pick the arbitrator who hears your case. CARS exposed how a dealer abused arbitration, after selling Jon Perz an unsafe car. CARS' video has received over 1.3 million views on YouTube. Jon and his attorney eventually won, but because of forced arbitration, Jon had to wait 8 years for justice:
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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