The city’s Department of Consumer Affairs launched an investigation into 200 used-car dealerships, attempting to determine if dealers were selling recalled vehicles without first sending the vehicles in for repair.
Federal law currently prohibits new-car dealers from selling any new recalled vehicles without first resolving the safety defects, however New York City has its own tighter regulations that require used-car dealers to certify their inventory as “roadworthy” before sale.
“Under City Law, a car with recalled parts that are unrepaired is not deemed to be roadworthy,” the DCA said in a statement. “New York City is in a unique position to investigate these businesses because of the City’s licensing and consumer protection laws, the presence of a strong DCA and the fact that it is illegal to sell cars ‘as is’ under state and City law.”
The agency issued subpoenas to dealers that had received a past violation for selling a vehicle that was not certified as roadworthy or inspected, though the majority of businesses were chosen at random so the study can reflect the citywide industry as a whole.
“We’re not going to wait for tragic statistics to demand that dealers repair these ticking time bombs,” said DCA commissioner Julie Menin. “Dealerships who have sold unrepaired recalled cars must take responsibility and notify their consumers immediately to repair the vehicles–consumers shouldn’t have to wait for new legislation, a court battle, or a tragedy, to know the car they bought is safe as required by law.”