I wish that weren't true. But it is, and we all know it. Oh, and we know all the "good" reasons why, too. (Free example: "Gee, I really want to do the right thing, but my competitor, across the street? He's a horrible person, and I know he won't do the right thing, which would cost a little more, so he'd be able to charge less, and I'd go out of business. But really: I'd like to be able to do the right thing. Honestly.")
I wrote a month ago (here) about my disappointment that CarMax's "rigorous inspection" of the used cars it offered for sale did not include having vehicles under recall repaired before sale. It turns out -- which I didn't know, and I suspect most other consumers don't either -- that while a new-car dealer must repair a recalled vehicle before it can be sold, used-car dealers aren't required to do that.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been asking Congress for such a law, but proposals have been languishing in both House and Senate (what a surprise!).
In a May New York Times article, the NHTSA director said, "It should be a slam dunk...To me it is hard to oppose ensuring that people who buy a car, whether it is new or used, or whether you are renting a vehicle, can have the confidence that it is safe." (Full article, here)
New York City is now taking matters into its own hands. According to Rachel Abrams and Christopher Jensen, in today's New York Times (full article, here),
New York [City]’s requirement is a stricter interpretation of a state law that requires all vehicles to be safe and roadworthy in order to be sold. Now, city officials want to make it clear to dealers that being safe includes repairing cars under recall....
Companies found to have sold unrepaired used cars will be required to notify the vehicles’ owners about the defect and make any necessary repairs. The department is prepared to issue violations to offending companies and, if necessary, revoke their licenses to operate.
While some dealerships already have policies in place requiring the repair of vehicles under recall, others are complaining about the additional burden this regulation will place upon them: "When do we stop babysitting the consumer?" asked one used-car dealer.
He clearly has a different definition of "babysitting" than do I.
The question is, How many people will have to be injured or die before Congress takes action?