Virginia Dealers Pulling Political Strings To Sell Unfixed Recalled Cars

Virginia Dealers Pulling Political Strings To Sell Unfixed Recalled Cars

February, 2016

Dear Care for Crash Victims Community Members:

The Daily Press reports:

“Consumer advocates are sounding the alarm about legislation that they say would let car dealers off the hook when they sell recalled vehicles.

The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association says that’s not what the bills do at all. Legislators sponsoring the bills agreed, but also said they’re willing to take another look.

House Bill 1232 and Senate Bill 709 both read as consumer notice bills, and they’ve coasted through the session thus far on unanimous votes and without complaint. They require car dealers to provide written notice to buyers who purchase vehicles that have been recalled.

State law doesn’t prohibit these vehicles from being sold and it doesn’t require notice, though some dealers provide it.”  See

Safety leader Rosemary Shahan asks that we warn the safety community and provides information resources:“warn our friends and allies about this horrible anti-safety legislation, on the brink of passage in VA. It’s similar to legislation that Joan opposed in CA (her letter of opposition to the CA legislation is linked below), along with CARS and many other consumer / safety organizations.  Faced with burgeoning numbers of recalled cars, the dealers are seeking legislation in various states to insulate themselves from liability when they knowingly and deliberately sell consumers unsafe recalled used cars — without bothering to get them repaired first.  All they would have to do to comply with the new law is “disclose” that the car is being recalled. No matter how they advertised the car. Even if they claimed in their ads that the car had “passed a rigorous 125+ point inspection” and was “Quality Certified.” And charged EXTRA for it. Even if they claimed verbally that the car was perfectly safe — something their victims would find it hard to prove. And of course, it would be impossible for them to prove, if they are dead. For many decades, such inherently deceptive disclosures have been held to be illegal, in appellate court decisions regarding dealer’s fraudulent and misleading practices / unsafe vehicles. So far, auto safety advocates have succeeded in beating back these cynical attempts to undermine existing state law protections, defeating dealer-backed bills in NJ and CA.  But the dealers are close to winning in Virginia, where they have snookered legislators into voting for a bill that would shift liability from unscrupulous car dealers onto their victims. Now that we’re raising alarms about the bill, the dealers are claiming that legislators and the public shouldn’t worry about this anti-safety legislation, because, to quote the dealers: “the vast majority of recalls are for minor things.” Direct quote: Don Hall, president and CEO of the Virginia Automobile Dealers Association, said ….His group requested these bills, which Del. Greg Habeeb and state Sen. Ryan McDougle – both attorneys – are carrying through theGeneral Assembly.

“It is a disclosure bill,” Hall said. “None of that changes liability at all.”  Hall also noted that the vast majority of recalls are for minor things.

Read more: The VA bills, HB 1232 and SB 709, are similar to bills the dealers backed in NJ and CA that consumer groups defeated last year. Here are letters of opposition to the CA legislation:James Sturdevant and Former NHTSA Administrator Joan ClaybrookConsumers for Auto Reliability and SafetyConsumers UnionNational Association of Consumer AdvocatesConsumer Federation of CaliforniaConsumer Attorneys of CaliforniaInternational Association of Machinists and Aerospace WorkersConsumer Action, CALPIRG, Housing and Economic Rights Advocates, Courage Campaign, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Consumer Watchdog

Thankfully we have Rosemary Shahan and other consumer advocates watching and warning us about political strings sneakily being pulled to endanger us all – for money.



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