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Used Car Dealers Do Not Have to Fix Recalled Vehicles, at Least for Now

» Posted April 28, 2021Resources | Share This Post

A pair of advocacy groups are pushing for a new federal law to force used car dealers to complete open recalls on vehicles before they can be sold. 

“It is unbelievable – and a surprise to most consumers – that dealerships routinely sell vehicles with open recalls, and in most cases it’s perfectly legal to do so,” Kevin Brasler, executive editor of Consumers’ Checkbook, recently told The Detroit Bureau.

The non-profit organization and the Consumer Federation of America say that at least 40% of used cars being offered for sale are covered by at least one open recall that has not been addressed. They appear to have gotten the attention of at least one lawmaker in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) is expected to reintroduce the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, which would require used car dealers to address open recalls before they can sell covered vehicles. The legislation was first introduced in 2019 but stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bill is likely to prompt a fight from used car dealers. The National Automobile Dealers Association argues that the measure would “cripple the used vehicle market” by increasing costs for dealers.

Car Defects Put Everyone at Risk

Car manufacturers recalled roughly 238 million cars in the U.S. over an eight-year period ending in 2018, according to Consumers’ Checkbook. Recalls commonly cover a wide range of defects, from malfunctioning airbags to issues that could cause engine fires.

The problem is that car owners are often not alerted to these and other defects until long after their vehicles leave a dealership lot. That is where the California lemon law comes in.

The Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act requires car manufacturers to perform a variety of repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. The state law also forces a manufacturer to buy back - or, in some cases, replace - vehicles that the company cannot or is unwilling to properly repair.

That is not all. The law also obligates the manufacturer to pay any legal fees that a person incurs while enforcing his or her rights.

Speak with an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney

If you are a California car owner or lessor fighting with a manufacturer over defects and repairs, an Orange County lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help. 

Our firm is dedicated to ensuring that the manufacturer fixes your vehicle. We help clients maximize the value of their buybacks.

Our lawyers represent people in lemon law cases across the state. We understand the significant stress that can come with haggling with car dealers and manufacturers. That is why we work aggressively to resolve these cases for the people that we represent.

Our offices are conveniently located in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with an Orange County lemon law attorney.


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BICKEL SANNIPOLI APC