Consumer Groups Accuse CarMax of Selling Unsafe Cars

Jun 25, 2014 02:35 PM EDT | Jordan Ecarma

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Eleven consumer groups claim that CarMax, the largest retailer of used cars in the country, hasn't been checking its vehicles for safety recalls, making them a danger to buyers.

The coalition has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate CarMax, calling the used-car company's ads "deceptive," the New York Times reported.

Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America, the Center for Auto Safety, the National Consumer Law Center and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group are some of the groups that signed a petition to the FTC.

"It is inherently deceptive for an auto dealer to represent that its vehicles have passed a rigorous inspection, while failing to take even the most basic step of checking the vehicle's safety recall status," read the petition as quoted by the Times.

According to the company's ads, CarMax sells vehicles after they have gone through a "rigorous 125-point" checkup. CarMax's stores around the country sold around 527,000 used cars in the 12-month period ending Feb. 28.

"Consumers may think they're buying a safe used car, but if CarMax isn't making sure that recalled cars are fixed, consumers are being misled. That's a problem, and one we hope the F.T.C. and CarMax can rectify," Ami Gadhia, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union, wrote in an email to the Times.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulates new-car dealers to make sure that recalled cars are repaired before being sold, but the agency currently can't require the same when used cars are resold.

 "CarMax provides the necessary information for customers to register their vehicle with the manufacturer to determine if it has an open recall and be notified about future recalls,"  CarMax spokesman Casey Werderman wrote in an email, as quoted by the Times.

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