C.A.R.S. Litigation

 
 
Working to Protect the Public from Hazardous Vehicles with Killer Safety Recall Defects
 
Seeking to overturn illegal, anti-consumer, anti-safety consent orders
Issued by the Federal Trade Commission
 
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) is suing the Federal Trade Commission, seeking to overturn illegal, anti-consumer, anti-safety consent orders that the FTC entered into with General Motors, CarMax, Lithia, Koons, Asbury, and other large auto dealership chains, that allow them to advertise that vehicles they offer for sale are "safe," "repaired for safety," passed a rigorous inspection, and qualified to be sold as "certified" vehicles without getting the potentially lethal safety recall defects repaired, if the dealers merely provide a disclosure that the vehicles "MAY" have an "open recall."

The FTC itself admits that "Unrepaired auto recalls pose a serious threat to public safety...Car manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have recalled tens of millions of vehicles in each of the last several years for defects that pose significant safety risks to consumers...In 2015, for example, recalls affected 51 million vehicles nationwide. And defects that have been the subject of recalls have led to severe injuries and even death for many consumers." (Statement of the Federal Trade Commission Concerning Auto Recall Advertising Cases, December 15, 2016.)

CARS is joined in the litigation by the Center for Auto Safety and U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG).



 
    What can happen when an unscrupulous car dealer sells you a used car without bothering to get the FREE safety recall repairs done first?
     
    From NBC News:

    A Chicago-area car dealer sold Corey Jackson a recalled used car that nearly killed him.
    "Corey Jackson was seriously injured by a faulty ignition switch in the 2008 Buick LaCrosse he bought at a Chicago-area used car lot in 2016.

    Jackson says the dealer never told him the car he was about to buy had been recalled by General Motors to fix the faulty switch (that was linked to more than 100 fatalities) - and that the recall repairs had not been made.

    'I know they wanted to make a sale, but don't be sleazy about it,' Jackson told NBC News BETTER.

    Seven months later, he crashed head-on into a tree, but the car's airbags did not deploy. Jackson's head slammed into the steering wheel and he was knocked unconscious. He suffered a broken jaw, collarbone, wrist and ankle. His hip was shattered. He's still in pain and walks with a limp, but says he feels lucky he wasn't killed.

    'I lost my job, I lost my vehicle and I'm still trying to repair my life,' Jackson said.

    So what happened? Jackson's attorney, Michael Serra at Langdon & Emison, claims that when the car ran off the road, the faulty ignition switch went from the 'run' position to 'auxiliary' or 'off,' which shut down the airbag system."

    Read more: NBC News Better, by Herb Weisbaum: How to make sure a used car is safe
     
 


Making Buying a Used Car Less Risky for Consumers
 
CARS, Public Citizen, and Consumer Action vs. Michael Mukasey,
Attorney General / U.S. Department of Justice
CARS won against the US Dept. of Justice, so insurers and junkyards are required to report stolen vehicles, total loss wrecks, and flood cars to a publicly accessible database.   Image by perthhdproductions via CC 2.0 license.
       In reaction to burgeoning auto theft, and salvage fraud involving dangerous rebuilt wrecked or flooded cars, in 1992 Congress passed the Anti Car Theft Act. The Act required the U.S. Department of Justice to create the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS), a publicly accessible online database. The Act also required NMVTIS to include up-to-date vehicle-history information provided by state motor vehicle departments, insurance companies, self-insured entities such as rental car companies, recyclers, and junk and salvage companies like Copart and Insurance Auto Auctions.

       According to a cost-benefit analysis commissioned by the DOJ, when NMVTIS is completed, and fulfills its potential, it will save the American public up to $11.7 billion annually, by reducing auto theft, salvage fraud, and related crimes.

       Simply by checking NMVTIS online, used car buyers would be able to instantly check the vehicle's title, verify its mileage, and learn whether it had been stolen or was a junked or salvage (total loss) vehicle. But under pressure from the insurance industry and auto dealers who profit from salvage fraud, the DOJ stonewalled and defied Congress. As a result, 16 years after the federal Act became law, the Department of Justice still failed to issue regulations to require reporting of vehicle history information by junk yards and insurance companies, and didn't make any vehicle history information accessible to consumers.

       In 2008, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, joined by Public Citizen and Consumer Action, filed a lawsuit to compel the Justice Department to implement the database. CARS was represented by attorney Deepak Gupta, who was then working for Public Citizen. He represented us brilliantly.

       In September, 2008, the federal district court in San Francisco issued an order requiring the DOJ to establish consumer access and issue regulations by January 30, 2009. The DOJ complied, and we worked closely with the agency in drafting the rules. Those rules required that information about total loss vehicles from insurers, junk yards, and salvage yards be reported to the system by March 31, 2009, and be updated at least every 30 days. Many entities report VIN-specific information daily.

Supporting documents:

Complaint in Public Citizen v. Mukasey (02/06/2008)

Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (08/12/2008)

Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Judgment (09/04/2008)

Order (09/30/2008)

Memorandum and Order (10/09/2008)

Pennsylvania Position on Consumer Access (01/27/2009)

California Restrictions on Consumer Access (01/27/2009)
 


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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.

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CarMax sells cars with deadly
safety defects.
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watched this ABC 20/20 excerpt
on CARS' YouTube channel,
catching CarMax on camera:

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Buyer Beware! Auto dealers use
forced arbitration
to get away with cheating customers
Even when car dealers flagrantly violate consumer protection laws, you may not be able to get justice. That's because almost 100% of car dealers stick "forced arbitration" clauses into their contracts. If they cheat you, and you try to take them to court, they can just laugh at you. That's because they can get your case kicked into arbitration -- a secret, rigged process that favors big, corrupt lawbreakers. The dealer often gets to choose the arbitration firm, and even the arbitrator who hears your case. Unlike judges, arbitrators are perfectly free to ignore the law.

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

 
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