— The "Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act" has been reintroduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) about two years after the bill was originally introduced.
According to Blumenthal and Markey:
"Current federal law does not prohibit car dealers from selling cars with outstanding recalls despite the incredible risk posed to the safety of everyone on the road. State laws exist that prohibit the selling of unsafe vehicles, but these laws are not being adequately enforced."
The bill requires auto dealers to fix any outstanding safety recalls before selling or leasing used vehicles. A dealer wouldn't be in violation if the recall information about a used car wasn't available, including available on the manufacturer website, at the time the car was sold or leased.
The Act defines a "dealer" as a person who has sold at least 10 vehicles to one or more consumers during the most recent 12-month period.
Consumer advocates have pushed for a federal law that requires dealers to get vehicles repaired before advertised and sold to the public because tens of millions of unrepaired cars are already on the roads.
But car dealer associations claim dealers shouldn't be forced to make recall repairs because some recalls can take months while waiting for parts. This would allegedly leave a dealer stuck with holding a used car that could possibly be sold and moved off the lot.
Dealers argue it would make more sense to inform used car buyers about any unrepaired recalls.
Car dealers have been busted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for selling used vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls, but not because the practice is illegal. Actions against General Motors and CarMax were based on advertising cars as "certified used" when the vehicles had been recalled but never repaired.
In the case of CarMax, the company advertised each used car went through a "125+ Point Inspection." CarMax did include a small message on TV commercials that said, “Some CarMax vehicles are subject to open safety recalls.” But the FTC found the tiny print appeared on the screen only three seconds during an entire commercial.
General Motors was also called out by the FTC for selling “Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles" with open (unrepaired) safety recalls.