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State settles with 104 auto dealerships over safety defect notices


SYRACUSE -- New York State's attorney general's office reached settlements with 104 auto dealerships -- including 28 in Western New York -- that sold vehicles to New Yorkers without disclosing that the vehicles were under recall for dangerous unrepaired safety issues such as unintended acceleration, airbag problems, vehicle fires, steering and brake loss, and more. The settlement requires the auto dealers to provide consumers with advance notice of any existing and unrepaired recall, among other measures.

An investigation by the AG's office found that while many prospective car buyers reasonably assume that any known and existing safety issues have been repaired or disclosed by the dealer, that is often not the reality of car buying in New York. As part of its investigation, the Attorney General's office surveyed advertisements, monitored vehicles covered by safety recalls, and identified auto dealers that advertised vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls.

As part of the settlements, the participating auto dealers are required to adhere to a set of guidelines in order to alert consumers that their vehicles may have unrepaired recalls, including the following:
  • Dealers that advertise used vehicles online must include information that enables consumers to check the recall status of advertised vehicles; that information includes the SaferCar.gov website operated by NHTSA.
  • Dealers who advertise in print or other media must also disclose in the advertisement that the vehicle is subject to a safety recall.  
  • Dealers must place a decal notice in the window of used cars that include information that allows consumers to check the recall status of the vehicles, including the SaferCar.gov website and mobile application operated by NHTSA.
  • Two days prior to any sale, dealers must provide consumers with a copy of the NHTSA recall status report for a vehicle with an unrepaired safety recall, and obtain a written acknowledgment from the consumer.
  • Dealers must send notices to customers who have purchased vehicles with unrepaired safety recalls that are still unrepaired, from January 2016 to present. Manufacturers' franchise dealers must also cover up to five days of a loaner car for consumers if their vehicle requires repairs that will take longer than one day.
  • Each auto dealer will also pay a fine of $1,000 to New York State.
"The safety recalls we uncovered were serious — and potentially deadly," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. "Consumers deserve to know of any unresolved safety issues before buying a car for themselves or their family. I am pleased that thanks to our investigation and today's settlement, more New Yorkers will finally receive the critical safety information they need to make an informed decision. I encourage all auto-dealerships across the state to follow our guidelines to ensure that they too uphold the highest standards of consumer safety. This is an important first step towards making all cars on New York's roads safer."

Under Federal Law, used car dealers, as well as new car dealers who sell used cars from unrelated auto makers, are required to either have a manufacturer authorized repair person on their premises or transport the vehicle to a dealer related to the vehicle's maker to have the recall work done.
The Attorney General's office investigation is ongoing.

Consumers who purchased vehicles after January 1, 2016 who believe they have possibly unrepaired safety recalls should contact the Attorney General's office at 1-800-771-7755 or via web form at https://ag.NY.gov/complaint-forms.

Consumers can check the recall status of your vehicle by entering its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the NHTSA website https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls.

A list of local dealerships follows:
  1. Basil Ford, Inc
  2. SCGA Holdings, LLC DBA Castilone Chrysler Dodge Jeep & Ram
  3. CrazyCheapCars, Inc
  4. Northtown Automotive Companies, Inc
  5. Landmark Chevrolet, Inc
  6. Olean Class Cars, Inc
  7. Ontario Sales, Inc
  8. Pellegrino Auto Sales, LLC
  9. Riverfront Auto Sales, Inc
  10. Shults Management Group, Inc
  11. Superior Auto Sales, Inc
  12. V&A Enterprises, Inc DBA Buffalo Auto Group
  1. Auction Direct USA, L.P.
  2. Best Value Auto
  3. Cavallaro Neubauer Chevrolet Buick:
  4. Doan Buick, Inc.
  5. Doan Chevrolet, LLC
  6. Doan Kia
  7. Good Buy Auto
  8. J & J Auto, Inc"
  9. Pioneer Truck Sales, Inc.
  10. Pool Auto Sales, Inc.
  11. Ralph Honda
  12. Santa Motors, Inc
  13. Stone Road Auto Inc
  14. Tiffany Transportation Services, Ltd
  15. Websmart Auto, Inc.
  16. Websmart Imports