Consumer Warning: Is that used car you're buying under recall?

Jan 22, 2018

NASHVILLE: Tenn. (TNS/WMOT)  --  There's one more reason to read the fine print when buying your next car.

A new Tennessee law allows used car dealers to sell vehicles that are under a safety recall, as long as the buyer signs a disclosure form.

Credit tnca.org

The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Act is the first and only law of its kind in the country. Similar legislation failed in four other states.

Andy Spears with Tennessee Citizen Action is concerned about the potential impact on consumers.

"There's no requirement that this has to be done at any time in the process. After you've already agreed to everything and you've worked out the financing – and then, they hand you a form and say, 'Yeah, sign this form' – and most people don't read those documents."

Spears cites the Takata airbag recall as one example of serious potential problems; it affects more than a million cars.

The Tennessee Automotive Association supports the new law, and points out it does require dealers to notify consumers about recalls.

While many people may opt not to sign such paperwork and buy a car they know is under recall, Spears says some may have no other choice.

"If you need a car to get to work and you don't have a whole lot of money, and someone is willing to sell you this car, maybe you'll sign the form because your options are limited…lower-income consumers are the most likely to be punished by this law."

Spears says anyone considering a used-car purchase should also run the vehicle's VIN number through the database 'safercar.gov.'