Do used car dealerships have to inform buyers of defective cars? No, but they should


When you walk down the aisles of your favorite grocery store, you tend to assume that anything on the shelf is safe. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When you go to your local used car dealership, you make the same assumption, because surely they wouldn’t sell a car that wasn’t safe to drive. Such an assumption, however, could be very costly to the consumer both financially and physically, and many used car buyers are finding this out the hard way.

A whole host of automobile owners received their recall letters in the mail stating that their cars have defective airbags. Although this is an easy fix, the part needed for repairing these airbags is on back order. The good news is that, as long as the drivers don’t have a passenger in their front seat, no one will get hurt.

The ugly truth is that as many as eight million vehicles around the nation may be affected by the defective Takata airbags. Even the highest quality cars and the best safety models, such as BMW’s vehicles, are not as safe as we once thought. This discovery is leaving car owners, as well as dealerships, in a conundrum. So, what does this mean for the used car industry?

With millions of cars carrying defective Takata airbags, not only are people driving around in unsafe cars, but car dealerships are also buying cars with the same dangerous airbags from unsuspecting sellers. Whose obligation is it to inform the public about the defect? Is it the dealership’s responsibility to lose profit by taking the cars with defective airbags off their showroom floor? Can used car dealerships afford to take such a huge monetary loss?

In the dealership’s defense, although they are being made aware of the problem of dangerous airbags, they don’t currently have the materials necessary to fix the defective cars. Because of this, consumers are being told to hold tight. After all, no one is going to purchase a recalled vehicle and then wait to use their new car until its airbags are fixed. This is leaving the dealerships that unwittingly bought the defective cars with inventory they can’t get rid of.


Very few standards are in place when it comes to disclosure laws about the defective cars that can be sold at used cars dealerships Langley. There aren’t many agencies that are policing the safety of the vehicles being sold on showroom floors across the US. When a buyer finds the car of their dreams, they assume that they are getting it in safe and drive-ready condition.That may not always be the case, though, due to the lack of such standards.

It isn’t just the consumer who is pushing for more stringent regulations when it comes to used car sales; many dealerships also want to see regulations put in place, so they can have a more credible reputation. After all, if the consumer can’t trust the car dealerships they purchase their automobiles from, what would incentivize them to pay dealership prices over private owner prices? Individual dealerships want to ensure that, if they are going to have an upstanding reputation, other dealerships should have to follow the same regulatory standards.

Not only are car dealerships allowed to sell defective cars that have recalls without telling the buyer, but they are also able to sell them without disclosing the information about the impending airbag danger. While millions of people across the nation who bought their cars new have received little pink slips, which warn them that their cars are equipped with harmful airbags,, those who bought their vehicles from a used car dealership have no way to receive the recall notice.

Many in the automobile industry are asking for more stringent rules about buyer beware disclosures when it comes to damaged or defective airbags. Currently, owners are made aware of any vehicles with salvage titles to protect their safety, but there are no standards for what a dealer has to tell a buyer about a used car. This should change, because someone has to be responsible for the safety of the automobile driver. Unfortunately, car dealerships, along with millions of private car owners across the nation, may suddenly be responsible for the dangerous mistake of the airbag company, Takata.

Photo Credit: Joe Raedle

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