Should it be illegal to sell a vehicle with an open safety recall?

Should it be illegal to sell a vehicle with an open safety recall?

Should it be illegal to sell a vehicle with an open safety recall?

Hi, I’m Attorney Ben Schwartz,

Today I am coming to you from behind the wheel of my 2011 Lexus ES350, this is a wonderful car. I have to tell you that I have been driving it for a number of years, it is just getting ready to turn 159,000 miles. It is my daily driver, I love it, it takes me everywhere from state to state, courthouse to courthouse.

But recently I received this notice from Lexus in the mail, it says, “urgent safety recall.” What it is saying is there is an important safety recall, the remedy will be performed at “free of charge to you.”

Basically, what it is saying is, the vehicle has a Takata airbag in the steering wheel. The problem with the Takata airbag is the integrity of the mechanism degrades. If I get into a car accident, the airbag goes off, it may shoot pieces of metal out into my body. So, Takata has been sued a bunch of times and finally, Lexus has decided maybe instead of letting people get injured and killed from these airbags that blow up and shoot shards of metal out, maybe we should issue a recall and fix all these airbags and that is what this notice is.

The only problem is, I am so busy I have not been able to call the Lexus dealership and make an appointment to take it in to get the airbag service done. I mentioned this to a buddy of mine and he said, “why don’t you just sell the car, it’s got 159,000 miles on it already? Don’t you think it is time for a new car anyway?” I thought, god that has got to be absolutely illegal. It sounds almost criminal to know the car has a potentially dangerous condition that could injure or kill the buyer. Yet he suggested I just sell it and let some innocent third party have it, not even letting them know about the safety recall. I thought that has got to be illegal. So, I sat down at my computer and I googled it and I don’t think it is illegal. I’m not 100% sure, but as far as I can tell, based on my preliminary research, it is not illegal to sell a used vehicle where there is a safety recall, even when it is something that could injure or kill somebody.

So, my question for you is, as a consumer in the United States of America or Canada, or wherever you are, don’t you think it should be illegal to be able to sell a used car with an open safety recall like that? Don’t you think there oughta be a law? Normally I go through my life thinking we oughta get rid of that law, we got too many laws. Every once in a while, however, I think to myself, I can’t believe there is no law on that point.

Well anyways, I would be interested to know what you have to say about that. Give a comment in response to this video or send me an email below. Let me mention one more thing. If you or someone you know, a family member, a loved one, a close friend, if you are getting ready to buy a used vehicle, even if you are buying it from a car dealership, you can go on the NHTSA website. That is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you go on the NHTSA website, there is a page where you can put in your vehicle identification number or the VIN and look up the vehicle and see if there are any open safety recalls.

I think that is very helpful to know. I can tell you that in the show notes from this blog post, we will put a link to that site, but if you just google NHTSA recall & search by VIN, it will be the first result that shows up in your google search results.

That is my tip of the day, but I am interested to know what you think. Like, how in the world could that possibly not be illegal? Let me know what you think. Do we need to have a law on that? I’m attorney Ben Schwartz, thanks for watching.

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