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Settlement with CarMax reached over non-disclosure of open safety recalls

The settlement will establish that used car dealers should generally disclose open safety recalls to consumers before they buy, the AG's Office says.
Credit: AP

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced a $1 million multistate settlement with CarMax Auto Superstores on Thursday, Dec. 1. 

The settlement will require CarMax to disclose open recalls related to the safety of its used vehicles before customers buy. The settlement is the result of a multistate investigation completed alongside 35 other attorneys general. 

This industry-changing settlement will establish that used car dealers should generally disclose open safety recalls to consumers before they buy, Shapiro's office says. 

“In Pennsylvania, demand for used cars remains high,” said AG Shapiro. “Consumers deserve to have all the relevant information about a car so they can make an informed choice whether or not to buy, especially if there are open and unrepaired recalls."

CarMax will continue to use the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) vehicle identification number tool to provide safety information to consumers.

"This settlement will ensure dealerships like CarMax shift gears to ensure Pennsylvanians’ safety comes before profits," said Shapiro. 

Moving forward, CarMax will include hyperlinks for vehicles advertised online and QR codes for vehicles on the lot that link directly to any open recalls on the vehicle so consumers can access this data as they shop. 

Additionally, CarMax will also present the consumer with copies of any open recalls and obtain the consumer’s signature on that standalone disclosure document before presenting any other sales paperwork. 

Finally, CarMax has agreed to no longer represent vehicles as “safe.”

Consumers who believe they may have purchased a car that isn’t roadworthy should file a complaint with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by visiting OAG’s website, or sending an email to scams@attorneygeneral.gov, or calling 1-800-441-2555 for more information.

CarMax's Chief Operating Officer Joe Wilson released the following statement regarding the announcement: 

CarMax led the industry in recall transparency by sharing vehicle-specific recall information in-store and online to ensure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase. 

In fact, as soon as NHTSA made available vehicle-specific recall information in 2014, we began providing the information to customers nationwide and we continue to do so today. 

As CarMax is not authorized by manufacturers to complete recall repairs and close out recalls, we work hard to ensure our customers have the information they need to take action and have recalls repaired at a manufacturer-authorized facility.

Furthermore, the company has stated that the settlement terms are consistent with CarMax's longstanding practices. 

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