Used Cars Sold With Safety Defects

August 16, 2021
Used Car

New car warranties come from automakers and car rental company resellers. These warranties cover auto recalls, including those for safety defects. Unless the new car warranty is transferred, the second owner may be hesitant for routine maintenance or repairs due to out-of-pocket costs. A safety defect affects the resale value, and it can also cause a car accident.

Certified dealerships contend with multi-brand lots and those that specialize in high-end used cars. These locations often are concentrated in a certain area to drive customer traffic there. Used cars are also advertised on many platforms on the internet. There are aggregators that compile available cars based on geographic location. Some sites offer party-to-party direct private sales. There are even door-to-door delivery companies for online sales and home delivery.

There are also fact-checker sites that advertise checking a car’s repair history by the vehicle identification number (VIN). So, how can unsafe used cars be sold? There are unscrupulous sellers, and there are unsuspecting buyers.

What Should I Know Before Buying a Used Car?

It is important that a car buyer does their due diligence. If the dealership offers a free report on the car’s history, ask for it, and read it carefully for completed recalls and open recalls. An open recall is where the year, make, and model is recalled and the owner does not respond.

Without a report, one can check for recalls with the VIN for the car and going to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website to search for recalls. If there is an open recall, ask the dealer if they will fix the issue.

Buying a used car from a private party is different. No dealer should sell a car with an open recall and fix the car before selling the vehicle. There is no such requirement for private sellers.

Safety Recalls and the Lemon Law

In many states, there is a Lemon Law that allows recourse to cancel a sale of a car if it is defective in some way. In Pennsylvania, the Lemon Law only applies to new car sales. On the federal level, there is the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act that covers the purchase of a defective used car. Under this law, used cars are covered as long as the defect occurred during the warranty period. It allows the owner to sue the manufacturer for compensation.

The decision to issue a recall can be a complicated process. The car makers generally do not issue a voluntary recall unless the defect is beyond question. Otherwise, the recall comes after a number of accidents and injuries.

West Chester Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Those Injured by Defective Vehicles

The West Chester car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. provide legal services to those injured by defective used cars. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County. Call us at 610-565-3701 or complete our online form for an initial consultation.