California has adopted some of the most effective laws in the nation aimed at reducing vehicle crashes, including many that focus on driver behavior. In addition, the state licenses and regulates auto dealers who sell motor vehicles to the public, and has adopted laws to ensure that the cars they sell are safe for operation on the roads. Car buyers have a reasonable expectation that the cars they purchase from licensed, regulated dealers are safe to drive. Dealers who violate those laws face sanctions ranging from fines and civil penalties to punitive damages and possible suspension or loss of their license to do business in the state.
Despite those laws, this report finds that CarMax, the nation’s largest retailer of used cars, is selling many unsafe, unrepaired recalled vehicles in California that are hazardous not only to the people who buy CarMax cars, but also to their families, other motorists, bike riders, and pedestrians.
CALPIRG Education Fund and the Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS) Foundation reached this conclusion based on research into CarMax’s sales practices in California, compiling data from two locations, one in Southern California (Ox- nard), and the other in Northern California (South Sacramento).