9 Investigates: Cars with unfixed safety recalls sold at dealerships

by: Blake Hanson Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Story highlights:

  • Cars with unfixed, potentially dangerous airbag recalls are being sold.
  • Eyewitness News sent producers to several dealerships to ask about recalled cars.
  • Federal law bans new car dealers from selling new cars with unfixed recalls but a loophole leaves out used dealers.

An Eyewitness News investigation found cars with unfixed, potentially dangerous airbag recalls are being sold on Carolina car lots and it's not against the law.
 
On a busy day at Freedom Park, an Eyewitness News crew went to see how many cars we could find that had an open recall. We asked Chris Basso, CarFax spokesperson, to check using license plate numbers. The second one we plugged in had a hit

"This vehicle has a potentially dangerous recall that could cause a fire if it's left unfixed," said Basso.
 
A few cars later we found a driver, Jenny Rorie, has a car that is one of millions nationwide with the Takata air bag recall.
 
"If it deploys, it could actually explode and shrapnel can come at you," said Basso.
 
"Yeah, that's kind of dangerous to me," said Rorie. "It's kind of scary."
 
Eyewitness News sent producers to several dealerships.
 
At Journey Auto Sales, the salesman gave us an outdated CarFax report on a Mazda 6 that was printed in June, prior to the latest recall.

At Ride Now Motors in Monroe, the salesman wasn't sure about a Honda Pilot our producers looked at.
 
"I don't think we have any recalls on that vehicle, but I can find out for you," said the salesman.
 
Within a few minutes, the salesman told us the car was indeed under recall and set up an appointment with Honda to have it fixed. We got a call the next week saying it had been repaired.
 
At Auto Source Carolina in Matthews, the salesman told us there was no recall on this 2010 Honda Element.


 
Producer: "There's like a new recall everyday, do you know if this is part of any recalls?"
Salesman: "Not on the 2010s."
Producer: "OK."
Salesman: "I wouldn't know if they did have one back in 2010 but as far as I know they didn't."
 
He then gave us a CarFax report for the wrong car. Then later, he gave the right one, but the salesman still didn't mention the recall.
 
Eyewitness News went to Auto Source to talk to the owner about our findings. He told us the salesman would have told our producers about the recall if they had come back for a test drive.
 
"There's always miscommunication when there's a sales process unfortunately," said Lorenzo Hills, Auto Source owner. "We try to make sure our best practice is to provide transparency."
 
By law, used dealership don't have to tell drivers about issues, or fix them. Federal law bans new car dealers from selling new cars with unfixed recalls but a loophole leaves out used dealers.
 
This summer, New York City became the first government to fix the loophole.

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