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Undercover Investigation Reveals Defective Vehicles

» Posted October 13, 2016Resources | Share This Post

Car buyers in Los Angeles and elsewhere in the state should be aware of California’s lemon law and other consumer protection laws that could provide them with a remedy if there is a problem with their car. Unfortunately, many vehicles are sold with defects, and many car dealers sell cars that are not safe for motorists. Consumers need to be especially diligent about protecting themselves and watching out for signs of problems.

Just recently, CBS News reported on a troubling undercover investigation that showed that car dealers were not being forthcoming about serious problems with the cars they are selling to consumers.

Car Dealerships Are Selling Vehicles with Serious Defects

CBS went undercover on a car buying trip in order to see if car dealers were disclosing serious safety issues in the cars they were selling or if the dealers were selling cars with known safety problems without alerting customers.

Unfortunately, the results were the same at a variety of different dealers that were visited by the CBS crew -- the dealers did not tell the undercover buyers about problems. In fact, even when directly asked about recalls, some dealers were not forthcoming or gave misleading information.

At one dealership, the undercover shopper asked specifically about airbag recalls on a luxury SUV, knowing that the federal website tracking recalls said that this model of car had airbag defects.  Most consumers likely wouldn't have known about the announced recall and likely would not have even known to ask the question.

Even with an informed consumer specifically querying the dealership about airbag problems, the dealer didn't disclose. Instead, the salesperson said that he did not think the SUV would have an airbag problem (even though the federal website said it did).

At another dealership, a 2012 vehicle with a defective airbag was for sale and the repairs had not been made to the car. The salesperson here commented that since the dealership was a “corporate complex,” they “wouldn't sell anything that gives us a bad reputation.” Yet, they had this car for sale with the unfixed and potentially dangerous airbag.

At a third dealership, the dealer did admit to knowingly selling cars with an un-repaired airbag defect, but said that the car buyer shouldn't worry since there's been “only two or three people killed by it but they don't even know what's causing it.”  Unfortunately, this response is not one that is going to comfort car buyers who may be counting on their dealer to provide basic information on whether a car is deadly or not.

If you buy a new car and you end up with a defective vehicle, California’s lemon law could potentially provide you with important protections. It can be difficult to take advantage of consumer protection laws and seek appropriate legal remedies since you need to know exactly how the law works. An experienced attorney can provide you with assistance if your car turns out to be a problem and advise you about your available options under the law.


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