One lawmaker has joined consumer advocates for a crusade against CarMax.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the used car dealer is selling “certified” recalled cars with lethal safety defects and wants the Federal Trade Commission to crack down on it.
“CarMax advertises that all its vehicles must pass a rigorous ‘125 point inspection,’ but no inspection that routinely ignores outstanding safety recalls can be called ‘rigorous,’” Blumenthal said. “Regardless of whether they are buying a new or used car, all consumers deserve to know they are buying a safe car.”
Blumenthal said an investigation by the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation found that CarMax dealerships in Hartford and East Haven offered 74 cars with safety issues.
The sales happened during two 24 hours periods in July and August, he said.
The defects included airbags that may not inflate, short circuits that can cause electrical fires, child safety seat anchors that may fail to latch, faulty fuel pumps that can cause engines to shut off in the middle of traffic and a number of other issues, according to Blumenthal.
“CarMax should not be allowed to make Connecticut, or any other state, a dumping ground for unsafe recalled vehicles with potentially lethal safety defects,” said Evan Preston, ConPIRG executive director.
Other advocates said CarMax was playing roulette with its customers’ lives.
“That is also putting their families, other passengers, and everyone who shares the roads at risk,” said Rosemary Shahan, president of the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Foundation.
CarMax told Eyewitness News that it has a commitment to recall transparency. It said it provides information about open recalls prior to sales.
"CarMax was founded to fundamentally change the way Americans buy used cars," it said in a statement. "For more than 20 years, CarMax has dedicated itself to providing customers with a straightforward, transparent car-buying experience that is based on integrity."
The company went on to say that drivers across the country recently have been forced to deal with an unprecedented number of manufacturer recalls.
"To ensure our customers are well informed about recalls, CarMax provides vehicle-specific information about open recalls to every retail customer prior to purchasing a used vehicle from our stores," the statement continued.
It also said that customers can look up National Highway Traffic Safety Administration information through CarMax.com. Customers can find any recall information on CarMax's website. Also, customers are provided with a recall report specific to their vehicle before signing sales documents.
Information on CarMax's recall process can be found here.
Blumenthal introduced the Used Car Safety Recall Repair Act, which would make it a violation of a federal law for car dealers to fail to repair any recalled vehicles before selling or leasing them.
He’s scheduled a news conference to talk about his case against CarMax at 11:30 a.m. It’s happening at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.
Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.