NEW: ‘What you need to know about automotive recalls’ from Consumer Action

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From exploding airbags to dangerously defective ignition switches, tens of millions of cars have been recalled for safety defects in the last year. The record-breaking number of recalls prompted Consumer Action to create an auto recall primer to alert consumers how to protect themselves before they buy, borrow, or rent an unrepaired used car.

Released today, the latest issue of Consumer Action News, the group’s free newsletter, warns that there is no specific federal law that prohibits dealers from selling used cars under safety recall without the safety defects being repaired, although that may be a violation of broader state or federal laws. (It is illegal to sell an unrepaired new car under safety recall.)

No law requires loaner or rental cars under recall to be repaired before they are released to unsuspecting drivers. Fortunately most major rental car companies recently committed to repairing any defects before renting these cars.

In “What you need to know about automotive recalls,” Consumer Action explains what responsibilities car manufacturers have when a vehicle contains a defective part, reveals where to hunt for “hidden” repair coverage and directs car buyers to a government website where they can search for safety recalls before purchasing a car.

The special issue also informs consumers how to avoid buying a car with a safety defect and guides them in recouping repair costs made out of pocket before a recall was issued. Included is a car buyer’s checklist with a step-by-step guide to buying a car—from how to calculate a vehicle’s full costs to where to search for insider pricing tips and how to evaluate if a car is a lemon or a legend.

A key Consumer Action ally, car safety advocate Rosemary Shahan, president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety (CARS), was helpful in assisting Consumer Action with its research for this issue, which includes information on efforts to pass legislation to close auto safety loopholes.

Find the new publication on Consumer Action's website.

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Consumer Action has been a champion of underrepresented consumers nationwide since 1971. A non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, Consumer Action focuses on consumer education that empowers low- and moderate-income and limited-English-speaking consumers to financially prosper. It also advocates for consumers in the media and before lawmakers to advance consumer rights and promote industry-wide change.

By providing consumer education materials in multiple languages, a free national hotline, a comprehensive website ( and annual surveys of financial and consumer services, Consumer Action helps consumers assert their rights in the marketplace and make financially savvy choices. Nearly 7,500 community and grassroots organizations benefit annually from its extensive outreach programs, training materials and support.




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