Craig P. Tiller, Esq. PLLC

Virginians should know that recalls don't mean dealers fix cars

Recalls from automakers just in the last four months have impacted 15.4 million vehicles. With so many recalls, it's important for Virginia residents to be aware of the responsibility of car dealership and rental companies when it comes to possibly unsafe vehicles. Specifically, residents should understand that no federal law currently requires such businesses to take any action on used cars regarding recalls.

Rental companies and car dealerships don't have to tell people that used cars are part of a recall if someone buys or rents the vehicle. The companies also don't have to take proactive action to conduct recall work on the used cars.

Currently, legislation is being debated at the federal level that would require companies to perform suggested recall work prior to selling and renting vehicles. Virginia's Lemon Law also protects consumers from certain damages that can occur when purchasing vehicles, but it doesn't include an enforcement of recall work.

Some dealerships and rental agencies do take action on recalls to promote the safety of their customers. A spokesperson from Apple Ford said they immediately lock up cars that are under recall and do not let anyone purchase or drive them until recall work is performed. According to a statement from Enterprise Rental Company, it follows similar precautions to protect renters.

Though no law exists yet to protect consumers in this area, individuals who are involved in a car accident that can be traced to a defective vehicle or recall issue are not without options for relief. Consumers may be able to file personal injury claims against manufacturers, dealerships and other companies. The lack of a law doesn't mean negligence doesn't exist when a possibly dangerous car is sold.

Source: WSET, "Consumer Warning: No Federal Law Requiring Dealerships to Fix Recalled Vehicles Before Sale" Carleigh Griffeth, May. 15, 2014

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