Ed's Blog

Consumer Groups Urge FTC Action On "Unfixed Recalled" CarMax Cars

By Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

We've joined ten other leading consumer groups -- including Consumer Reports and Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) -- to urge the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against the massive car retailer CarMax for alleged deceptive practices. The petition argues that CarMax aggressively advertises that all cars get a "rigorous 125-point" inspection but "fails to ensure that safety recalls are performed prior to selling used cars to consumers." So, what good is a 125-point inspection anyway?

The petition has received major press attention, including by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Detroit News, as well as in AdWeek. From the New York Times:

"The action comes during increased focus and dismay on the part of consumer advocates and legislators over the adequacy of the recall process intended to protect motorists, prompted in part by the disclosure that General Motors delayed by more than a decade its recall of millions of cars."

The petition (other supporting materials here-scroll down), is also supported by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (NY).

It is part of an ongoing consumer campaign to improve the safety of cars, trucks and buses on the road. For example, for several years, the PIRG-backed consumer coalition has also relentlessly sought approval of legislation  to require rental car companies to keep their cars off the road until safety recalls are completed (link is to video of Senator Barbara Boxer (CA) asking new GM CEO Mary Barra why GM and other big car companies oppose the bill). The federal legislation, S921, is named for two young women, sisters Raechel and Jacqueline Houck, who died in an accident caused by an unrepaired safety defect in a rental car they were driving.

While CarMax is the nation's largest used car dealer, the groups warn consumers that its practices are common. Unrepaired recalled cars are routinely offered for sale everywhere. CARS posts the following Used Car Buying Tips.

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