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Groups Attack CarMax Over Selling Recalled Cars

Used car sales company CarMax is under intense scrutiny over the safety of cars it sells, as auto safety and consumer organizations have filed a petition to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). If supported, the petition would compel CarMax to cease advertising its cars as quality inspected and certified as long as recalled cars are sold unrepaired.

Consumer and safety organizations, including Consumers Union, are outraged that CarMax is selling unrepaired vehicles still under recall notices to paying customers. "There is absolutely no excuse for CarMax or other auto dealers not to ensure that the used vehicles they sell to consumers are not ticking time-bomb cars with unrepaired safety recalls," reads the petition. The criticism concerns, in part, the fact that CarMax advertises a, "125+ point inspection" on each car it sells, which could mislead customers into thinking any recall issues were fixed.

Backing the formal request is Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y. ). "Car dealers shouldn't sell used cars that have a safety recall to consumers, period," said Schumer in a statement.

For its part, CarMax is trying to wipe its hands clean of responsibility. CarMax says it supports legislation forcing automakers to fix recalled vehicles prior to sale, under the condition that manufacturers also allow used car dealers to make the repairs as well.

"New car manufacturers do not give used car retailers, including CarMax, the authority to complete recall repairs," the company said in a statement. CarMax also wants diagnostic information, repair tools, and parts currently given to franchised dealers.

CarMax claims that because of the restrictions it faces, it doesn't have the necessary means to repair recalled vehicles before selling them to consumers. At the same time, however, there's nothing forcing CarMax to sell those vehicles.

The company says that it provides enough information for customers to register a sold vehicle with the manufacturer so they can ascertain for themselves if a recall affects the car. CarMax also wants automakers to be required to send out recall notices to used cars dealers, but as it stands now it is hardly difficult to research into the recall status of any used car. After all, CarMax is asking its own consumers to do exactly that.