Purchasing a vehicle with an open recall is potentially life threatening. Last year, a record 63.9 million vehicles were recalled nationwide- twice as many as the previous record set in 2004.
According to a recent report by ABC News, car dealerships in New York and New Jersey have been selling new vehicles with open safety recalls. A car salesperson does not legally have to inform customers whether there is a recall. However, by federal law, the dealership must fix the recall before selling the vehicle.
One dealership sold a recalled 2014 Chevy Silverado to an undercover ABC news investigator with a recall based on loss of motive power- meaning, the car could slip into neutral unexpectedly and crash. The ABC news investigator had purchased this vehicle over the phone, and the salesperson informed him that there were no recalls. Two days later, he picked up the vehicle from the dealership. The investigator referenced the VIN number with the General Motors website and the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration only to discover that the recall was incomplete. The salesperson denied remembering the inquiry regarding the recall when he sold the vehicle.
There has been discussion in Congress regarding improving the standards related to automobile consumer protection. President Obama has suggested that the fine to automobile manufacturers be raised from $35 million to $300 million for non-compliance with recall orders. Senator Ed Markey who sits on the Senate subcommittee on consumer protection has commented that NHTSA "should have done this work... it shouldn't take an investigation by ABC to find this problem."
If you or a loved one has been injured due to a defective or recalled vehicle, contact an attorney who has experience in products liability. Call Sakkas, Cahn & Weiss, LLP at (212)571-7171.