Buyer Beware: Used Cars and Products Liability Concerns
We are all too familiar with the recent overwhelming number of vehicle product recalls that seemed to take over the media toward the end of 2014. Even more disheartening than the sheer volume of vehicles that have critical defects is the fact that buyers might not even be aware that their cars have these life-threatening issues. A recent New York Times article set the stage for all new concerns about these product recalls. According to the article (and current federal law) used car dealerships are not under an obligation to repaid known safety defects before selling a vehicle to another third party.
Car Product Safety Recalls
Not only are used car dealers not required by law to repair known defects, as of now dealerships also do not have any requirements to disclose that the vehicle is even subject to a product recall. This very concerning fact places the burden on the consumer to determine whether their vehicle is safe—an added expense that most Americans would not think necessary to incur.
Retailers, manufacturers, and distributors all have an obligation to their customers to provide products reasonably safe for use. It is, therefore, confusing as to why used car dealers are not presently required by law to make such disclosures. Part of the rationale behind the non-disclosure may be the fact that this product recall information is available through services such as CarFax, but there are concerns that buyers may either not know this or may not be able to afford these services. Another rationale may be a belief that the car manufacturers will individually reach out to purchasers, which is partly true. If a car is (properly) registered, the owner of a car with recalled parts or necessary service updates will receive information if and when the company distributes it to their known consumers. New purchasers or purchasers of used vehicles, however, may be out of luck in that their information might not have made the database yet, if at all.
The single best thing to do as a consumer is always take the time to be informed. There is no expense too great to save your life. In fact, the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website provides excellent resources on how to check for current product recalls, understand your obligations as a used car buyer, and what to check for on a test drive. Knowing what to look for before making a purchase will help protect the safety of you and your family.
Automotive Product Liability Lawyers
Product recalls are an all-too-common phenomenon, particularly among the car industry. If you or anyone you know has been injured or killed in a vehicle accident due to a faulty product, manufacturing defect, or design flaw, you may be entitled to compensation. At Alan Goldfarb, P.A., our team of experienced product liability attorneys understands the emotional and financial impact an auto accident can have on your life. Our clients can rest assured that we will advocate tirelessly on their behalf to ensure they receive the compensation they are entitled to by law. If you have any questions about your legal rights after being injured due to a faulty product, contact our Miami offices today for a free consultation.