Consumers Union: California Recall Bill Backed By Dealers Is "Not Enough"

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
consumers union california recall bill backed by dealers is not enough

A proposed bill in California aimed at closing a loophole in federal recall law is being rushed through the legislative process. Consumers Union, the parent of Consumer Reports, is not happy about it. Neither are automakers.

The bill – AB 287 – is being supported by California car dealers as a way to defend themselves against future lawsuits, even though it requires more work on their part. If passed, the law would make it illegal to rent or sell a recalled vehicle in California without prior disclosure, force dealers to fix used vehicles of the same make as their franchise, and require automakers to reimburse dealers for recalled vehicle storage.

The current federal law states dealers only be required to fix new cars before sale; rental and used cars are absent from the legislation.

Consumers Union says the new law is a “half-measure” and still doesn’t cover the problem of fixing used cars sold by non-franchised dealers, used vehicles of other makes at franchised dealers and rental vehicles before they are rented to customers. Oddly enough, the Association of Global Automakers agrees with Consumers Union, though for vastly different reasons. The automaker association – representing companies such as Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai – believes any such law should be a federal affair instead of complying with a patchwork of state-level laws which could be quite complex.

Brian Maas, president of the California New Car Dealers Association, told Automotive News, “The regulation of recalls on used cars in the United States is zero” and “doing something is way better than where we are today.”

For their part, Consumers Union believes if the law goes into effect it will become a model for other states, eliminating the willingness of governments to introduce additional legislation fixing the underlying problem: repairing recalled vehicles before they are sold or rented.

[Source: Automotive News]

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  • MBella MBella on May 03, 2015

    What franchised dealer wouldn't perform all open recalls on a used car of their brand? That's always one of the first things that get's done. It sounds more to me like the dealers just want to get some positive publicity for supporting a "safety" that really doesn't change a thing in the way they do anything.

  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on May 03, 2015

    This is going to improve recall compliance as it relates to used cars and rentals, but it will come at the expense of individual owners who bought the cars new. As we've seen with the GM ignition switches and the FCA alternators, with the use of certain components across entire product lines the sheer number of replacement parts required is massive. It's simply impossible to make enough parts available to comply with the recall for everyone within the time frame that the regulators think it should take. Someone is going to have to be sent to the back of the line; who do you think that's going to be? Is it going to be the individual who bought one car, or the rental companies that have thousands of affected vehicles in their fleet? The Chrysler alternator recall was announced in October 2014; it wasn't until this past April that my dealer had one to install in my car. If this law was in effect I'd probably be waiting until next October.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.
  • Wjtinfwb I've seen worse on the highways around Atlanta, usually with a refrigerator or washer wedged into the trunk and secured with recycled twine...
  • Wjtinfwb Surprising EB Flex hasn't weighed in yet on it being the subject of a recall...