OMBUDSMAN ALERT: RECALLS OF USED CARS WITH DANGEROUS SAFETY DEFECTS MUST BE INVESTIGATED BY THE US CONGRESS

BY DR. LOUIS ALPERT
Ombudsman

This is the latest in a series of articles devoted to the ineffective role of the Federal Trade Commission in ensuring that consumers who purchase used cars (and even certified pre-owned cars) from used car dealers are properly protected. In this regard your Ombudsman has reached out to our elected congresswoman, Nita Lowey, who just forwarded the following statement to share with our readers:

“More than 37,000 Americans die in automobile crashes each year, and an additional 2.35 million are injured or disabled. The truth is far too many of these accidents are preventable and when it comes to cars on the road, safety must always be the number one priority. We should continue to improve protections for Americans by providing adequate information to consumers to help ensure they are able to make informed decisions about purchasing an automobile. As ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will continue to insist on implementing the highest standards of automobile safety to protect the lives of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians in New York and across the country.”

With our congresswoman’s strong desire to ensure the safety for all auto consumers(including used car buyers) I am hopeful that she will do everything in her power to pass laws that will strengthen the FTC’s minimal oversight to inform the unsuspecting used car purchaser of any imminent need for repair or replacement of a defective part subject to a current Safety Recall.

This Ombudsman has requested our congresswoman to go one step further by empowering the FTC to require all used car dealers to repair or replace a defective part of any used car that is subject to a current recall prior to its release to the prospective purchaser.

This Ombudsman just received an e-mail on June 9 from the FTC responding to my June 1 column concerning their failure to address the critical need for implementation of Safety Recalls of Used Cars, by confirming that Congress does NOT currently give them the power to prevent used car dealers from selling used cars with UNRECALLED SAFETY DEFECTS. They confirm that they are not even given the power to WARN the prospective purchaser of a given used car of the Safety Recall status of that vehicle. The FTC claims that their power is limited to merely requiring used car dealers to suggest in their advertising that the prospective purchaser check the VIN number of their chosen vehicle to ascertain IF that vehicle is subject to a current Safety Recall!

For all of the above reasons this Ombudsman urges our readers to encourage our elected federal officials, including congresswoman, Nita Lowey, to pass legislation to empower the Federal Trade Commission to fully protect Used Car purchasers as outlined above. It is also critical to note that this action would also help to save the lives of other drivers and pedestrians who might otherwise encounter UNRECALLED used cars on America’s highways!