— Three auto safety and advocacy groups allege the federal government is allowing dangerous recalled vehicles to flood the roadways.
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), the Center for Auto Safety and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) filed notice of appeal to challenge the Federal Trade Commission’s consent orders with General Motors and dealership chains CarMax, Lithia, Koons, Asbury and West-Herr.
According to the appeal, the companies use deceptive advertising to sell used cars that have been recalled but not repaired.
All three groups assert the consent orders give GM and the dealer chains the right to use advertising language that fools consumers into believing the vehicles are safe to operate.
The recalled used and "certified" vehicles may be advertised as safe and repaired for safety, or an advertisement may say the vehicle underwent a "150-point inspection" for safety.
GM and the dealers are allowed to use such words as long as the advertisements state the vehicles "may" have an "open recall." The words, open recall, means the vehicle has been recalled for safety defects but hasn't been repaired.
A vehicle advertised as "certified" or having passed a "125-point inspection" can also allegedly cost a buyer an additional $1,200 even though the car may have unrepaired safety defects.
According to the safety groups, even the FTC admitted how dangerous the vehicles may be.
“Unrepaired auto recalls pose a serious threat to public safety...defects that have been the subject of recalls have led to severe injuries and even death for many consumers.” — Federal Trade Commission
The safety advocates argue something needs to be done now in the courts or in Congress because the FTC consent orders will be in effect until 2036.
The appeal, filed with the Washington, D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, comes after a U.S. district court in September ruled the groups lacked standing to sue the FTC.