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NIADA Legislative Alert: Open Recall Notices

Thursday, November 27, 2014   (0 Comments)
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Arlington, TX (November 21, 2014) --  During NIADA's National Leadership Conference last week, Jennifer Timian, chief of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration's Recall Management Division, informed participants there are now more than 50 million vehicles with open recalls.

As a result of the large number and high profile of some of these recalls, NIADA has seen increased interest among consumer advocates, investigative reporters, Congress, and state and local legislators regarding independent dealers fixing open recalls on vehicles before they are sold.

Additionally, NIADA has seen a few local investigative TV reports in which hidden cameras are being taken to used car dealerships as undercover reporters inquire about vehicles with open recall notices to see what the dealer will do. These reports attempt to make dealers look suspicious and self-serving.

In light of the increasing scrutiny placed on matters involving open recalls, NIADA would like to provide the following talking points and best practices for all member dealers:

· NIADA dealer members are concerned about consumer safety, and as members, NIADA dealers subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics that lends itself to taking care of their customers now and in the future, offering better products, services and buying experiences.

· NIADA recommends dealers use NHTSA's new VIN lookup tool, available at www.safercar.gov (or other programs available), to check the open recall status on vehicles for sale, and that dealers disclose to consumers the information found through the NHTSA VIN lookup tool as to whether a particular vehicle has an open recall before the vehicle is sold.

· NIADA recommends, when possible, that dealers fix an open recall before a vehicle is sold.

· The present recall process is entirely controlled by three entities: the United States government through the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle manufacturers and franchise dealers. Independent dealers do not have any control or participation in any part of this process.

· Independent dealers often are never going to receive notice from the manufacturer that a vehicle has been recalled.

· Independent dealers do not have any more access to open recall notice data than consumers, and cannot make recall repairs.

· The information in the new NHTSA database is not necessarily real-time information and thus may not always be accurate.

· NIADA does not want to put dealers in a position where they are required to make a representation about a vehicle's open recall status that they do not know to be 100 percent accurate.

· There is no federal law that dictates a dealer identify and fix an open recall before selling a vehicle, and NIADA is opposed to any law that would require an independent dealer to fix the vehicle before sale.

· Not all recalls are safety related and vehicles should not be grounded for recalls that are not safety related.

· Parts and technical data are not always made immediately or readily available to fix an open recall. It sometimes takes as long as a year or more for the parts to be released from the manufacturer or a fix to be made available.

· Government officials rarely mandate that vehicles be grounded for an open recall.

· NIADA also recommends that others in the automobile industry (consumers, auctions, wholesalers, etc.) use the NHTSA tool to discover whether vehicles in their ownership or control have an open recall and to have those vehicles fixed as soon as possible.