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Unrepaired recalls A vehicle history report company recently claimed that it counted more than 2.7 million used vehicles for sale online in 2011 with safety recalls that were never performed. This raises a question: must dealers make sure that recalls are performed on the used vehicles they have in inventory for sale?

Unfortunately, a dealer who does so runs the risk of substantial liability, if there is a post-sale accident that can be blamed on the open recall. In that case, a dealer may face substantial civil liability.

Federal law prohibits the sale of a new vehicle with an open recall, but it does not do so with respect to sale of a used vehicle. Therefore, a dealer may sell a used vehicle with an open recall without necessarily violating federal law.


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Do not sell used cars with open recalls. If it is a vehicle of the brand your dealership sells, the franchisor will pay your service department to do the repairs. If you do not sell the brand, you can take it to another franchised dealer to have it done at the manufacturer’s expense. You can tell whether a car has an open recall from a variety of sources including a vehicle history report, the vehicle’s repair history through the manufacturer if it is a brand you sell, or an online site such as www. which gives information about specific recall campaigns. Why risk liability when the manufacturer will pay to solve the problem?

VIADA Summer Magazine 2012  

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