Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, The Center for Auto Safety, and The U.S. Public Interest Group are all plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit that has been filed against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States District Court for The District of Columbia.
This is based on allegations that the FTC has issued three decisions and orders that permit dealers to market used vehicles as “safe”, “repaired for safety issues” and “subject to rigorous inspection”. All of this even while certain vehicles are pending a safety recall by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, without requiring the dealers to remedy those safety defects and instead disclosing that such vehicles “may” be subject to such recalls.
Therefore, the FTC allowing such practices to take place is a direct violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act 15 U.S.C. § 45 (a) (1) which prohibits “unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce”. As well as, the agency’s own trade regulation rule governing the sale of used vehicles. This rule provides that “it is a deceptive act or practice for any used vehicle dealer to misrepresent the mechanical condition of a used vehicle”.
In addition, the record before the agency demonstrated that the sale of “certified” used cars as “safe,” “repaired for safety issues,” or “subject to a rigorous inspection,” when such vehicles are in fact not safe because they are the subject of pending safety recalls, is extremely detrimental to consumers who buy used cars—particularly poor, unsophisticated, and non-English speaking consumers—because it deprives them of the economic value of their purchases, imposes on them the burden of having to find out if the vehicles are subject to recalls and to have the vehicles repaired, and exposes them and those they invite into their vehicles, as well as the public around them, to the risk of injury or death caused by the defective vehicles.
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