CarMax faulted over re­called cars

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS BEAT - By Jerry Hirsch jerry.hirsch@la­times.com

Two con­sumer groups have asked Cal­i­for­nia’s at­tor­ney gen­eral and the Depart­ment of Mo­tor Ve­hi­cles to in­ves­ti­gate the sales prac­tices of used-car gi­ant CarMax.

The Cal­i­for­nia Public In­ter­est Re­search Group and the Con­sumers for Auto Re­li­a­bil­ity and Safety Foun­da­tion said the re­tailer reg­u­larly sells used ve­hi­cles that have been re­called but not re­paired — de­spite ad­ver­tis­ing that its au­tos un­dergo rig­or­ous “qual­ity” in­spec­tions.

Re­searchers vis­ited two of CarMax’s 18 stores in Cal­i­for­nia, one in Ox­nard and the other in Sacra­mento, and cross-checked ve­hi­cle iden­ti­fi­ca­tion num­bers with a fed­eral data­base that tracks whether a ve­hi­cle has been re­called and if it has been re­paired.

They found that more than 10% of the 455 cars at the Ox­nard CarMax had un­re­paired re­calls. In Sacra­mento, 9% of the 386 ve­hi­cles had un­re­paired re­calls.

“All of th­ese safety de­fects pose se­ri­ous risks,” the con­sumer groups said in a re­port re­leased Wed­nes­day.

CarMax’s prac­tice of sell­ing “cer­ti­fied” ve­hi­cles with known de­fects could vi­o­late a va­ri­ety of Cal­i­for­nia laws and mo­tor ve­hi­cle reg­u­la­tions, the con­sumer groups said in call­ing for a state in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Casey Wer­der­man, spokesman for CarMax, said it makes full dis­clo­sure of any out­stand­ing re­call work to cus­tomers be­fore they buy a ve­hi­cle. Ev­ery ve­hi­cle ad­ver­tised on CarMax’s web­site and mo­bile app has a link to its re­call his­tory on the Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s site.

Be­fore sign­ing doc­u­ments, the CarMax sales staff mem­ber and buyer re­view the ve­hi­cle’s NHTSA re­call re­port and the cus­tomer signs a form ac­knowl­edg­ing re­ceipt of the in­for­ma­tion, Wer­der­man said.

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