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Investigative report shows danger of driving used cars

People in Massachusetts may have seen a recent report from a news channel investigation into used car dealers around the state. The investigation uncovered evidence that many used car dealers often do not take corrective steps to fix vehicles that have an open recall issued to repair a known defect. As a result, many used car buyers could be at a heightened risk of suffering injury, or worse, in a car accident.

The investigation uncovered instances of faulty brakes, fuel leaks and a multitude of other problems that could end in disaster for unwitting consumers. In one particular instance, a man's van erupted into flames while it sat in his driveway. The cause was likely a flaw that had been noticed and recalled, but the used car dealer who sold it to him failed to have the issue repaired and failed to even notify the purchaser of its existence.

One car safety researcher noted that there is no federal or state law which requires used car dealers to fix or even notify the buyer of a recall. Therefore, many dealers simply do not take the time and precaution to fix the defects, even though most recall repairs are performed free of charge by the manufacturer.

There may not be a law requiring it, but car dealers still have a duty to protect consumers from products that they know are faulty, yet sell anyway. For a car dealer to put someone at risk of serious injury or death while failing to take minor precautions to fix or even notify the consumer of the problem is unconscionable, and may open them up to liability if one of their vehicles causes injury to a buyer.

Source: CBS Boston "I-Team: Hidden Dangers In Used Cars Across Mass.," Karen Anderson, Feb. 7, 2013

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