Used car dealers may not be telling the entire story to consumers when it comes to their inventory. Those non-disclosure tactics, particularly when it comes to open automobile recalls, are dangerous and could result in severe and fatal motor vehicle accidents.
Annual recalls involving motor vehicle defects number into the hundreds and impact more than 30 million cars, according to a 2017 analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). One of the more high-profile recalls involved flawed designs in the inflators of Takata airbags. Following the deaths of many drivers, a recall was issued for 56 million airbags in nearly 42 million vehicles.
While the story attracted high-profile media coverage, the NHTSA estimates that defective and dangerous inflators remain in nearly 23 million vehicles. Clearly, the news has not reached everyone.
Even for those who may be aware of defects, the processes necessary to identify and repair potentially deadly motor vehicles is lacking. On average, only two-thirds of recalls result in successful repairs, leaving 10 million defective cars potentially available for sale.
Consumers who are looking for affordability in buying previously owned cars are not only vulnerable to aggressive sales pitches, but also unresolved defects. Federal laws are not consumer-friendly. Only new cars require disclosure of recall notifications. Used vehicles receive a dangerous and deadly “pass.”
The National Automobile Dealers Association naturally sides with dealers. They believe that the range in defect severity means that not all vehicles can be repaired before being sold and driven. Trade groups and dealers cite costs, staffing shortages, and an overall impact on their businesses.
They also claim that prospective buyers would also suffer ill effects in the trade-in values for their cars. Clearly, looking out for their customers has limits.