Under current federal law, it’s illegal to sell new cars if they’re recalled. But when it comes to used cars, it’s legal.
Angela Davidson bought a 2010 Dodge Ram from Carmax, and says she feels cheated.
“You didn’t give me a choice! You didn’t ask me…do you want to buy a car with an open recall. That’s the problem I have with Carmax,” Davidson told FOX40.
CarMax says they instructed the Davidsons to have any open recalls fixed. Davidson took her truck to Chrysler and had the recall addressed.
Her car still caught on fire as a result, just 11 days after she said she bought it.
“It blew up. We were in the process of moving. So we had our furniture…and just everything in that truck,” said Davidson.
CarMax says Chrysler was responsible for fixing and closing out Davidson's recalls.
Davidson is still frustrated that CarMax sold her a recalled vehicle. When she bought the car, she said she didn't know Chrysler had issued a safety recall on the car last year for an issue with the rear axle. She says she wouldn't have bought the car had she known.
“They led us to believe that this truck was safe, when it wasn’t. They let us drive off the lot with an open recall on it,” Davidson said.
A few California lawmakers say selling recalled cars is a problem. But their efforts to stop dealerships from selling recalled vehicles without making repairs, have failed in the legislature.
The president of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety group believes customers are buying into a simple assumption; if the car is certified, it’s safe.
President Rosemary Shahan organized a protest in front of the Roseville CarMax on Tuesday.
“CarMax is the largest retailer of used cars in the county. They took in over $10 billion last year. They could afford to make these cars safe if they cared,” Shahan said.
CarMax told us they worked to help the Davidson's throughout the process. They said they offered to repurchase the vehicle and reimburse the Davidsons for all out-of-pocket expenses. CarMax told us the offer has not been accepted.
CarMax told us in a written statement that the customer is the best person to deal with recall information and they are not provided the authority to complete recall repairs. They wrote:
"CarMax was founded to fundamentally change the way Americans buy used vehicles and is the industry leader in integrity and transparency. As part of our commitment to transparency, we notify all customers prior to purchasing any vehicle from CarMax about the importance of registering their vehicle with the manufacturer and having any open recalls fixed. When customers register their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), they can get the most up-to-date information on open and future recalls directly from the manufacturer.
The current recall system is based on the manufacturer’s relationship with its franchise dealers and vehicle owners and does not take used auto retailers into account. Under the current system, manufacturers direct recall communications to the vehicle owner of record, not used auto retailers like CarMax. Unlike the manufacturer franchise dealers who are intended under the system to fix recalls, independent used auto retailers, like CarMax, are not provided the authority to complete recall repairs and close out recalls.
Our experience shows us customers are in the best position to act on recall information directly with a manufacturer-authorized dealer. Dealers are often more likely to provide timely recall repair to customers rather than to a competitor, like CarMax, so we will continue to strongly encourage customers to have recalls repaired at a manufacturer-authorized facility.
Every customer must sign a form titled “Important Information Regarding Your Purchase – Manufacturer Recalls” before any sales document is presented. This form encourages the customer to inquire with the manufacturer regarding any open recalls that may exist on their vehicle, and have any recall work done by the manufacturer-authorized repair facility."