On Jan. 1, 2018, Tennessee became the first and only state in the U.S. to enact a law that eases restrictions against automobile dealers who profit from selling recalled vehicles to consumers without first performing safety recall repairs.
Under HB0141, also known as “The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law,” used car dealers are now allowed to sell vehicles that have been recalled for safety defects as long as the buyer signs a disclosure form.
At Greg Coleman Law, we are strong advocates of consumer rights and believe used car dealers have an obligation to be open and honest about selling a defective product. If you or someone you love has been injured or killed in an auto accident caused by a defective vehicle, you may have a case. Contact our attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to find out if you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering.
The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law
HB0141 was passed late in the 2017 legislative season when Tennessee legislators amended an unrelated bill, essentially eliminating its contents and replacing it with HB0141. This allowed the bill to go unnoticed by auto safety advocates who would have been opposed to such legislation.
Under the law, the only warning car dealers must provide buyers about safety recalls on vehicles is through a signed disclosure form. Auto safety advocates in Tennessee argue that many buyers may overlook the disclosure form, which will likely be mixed in with numerous other forms and documents the consumer is asked to sign while buying the vehicle.
Furthermore, dealers can use any database they chose to check for defects and safety recalls. This includes private databases, which many be unreliable and often fail to include many vehicles that have been recalled. If the vehicle does not show up on the database the dealer used, it does not have to disclose the vehicle’s recall information to the consumer.
The new law only requires dealers to repair used vehicles if the safety recall database the dealer chooses to check indicates the manufacture has issued a “do not drive” or “do not sell” warning.
However, federal auto safety groups, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, do not have the authority to issue “do not drive” or “do not sell” warnings, and instead rely on manufacturers to do so.
New Law Worries Auto Safety Advocates
Although there is no federal law that prohibits dealers from selling used recalled cars, all other states have made it illegal for dealers to sell dangerous recalled used vehicles.
Similar legislation proposed in other states by auto dealer advocates, including New Jersey, California, Maryland and Virginia, was opposed and defeated.
Advocates worry that HB0141 will make it easier for dishonest car dealers to sell unsafe and defective vehicles to unsuspecting consumers. They argue the law could lead to Tennessee becoming a “dumping state” for unsafe recalled vehicles.
Contact a Defective Product Lawyer
The defective product lawyers at Greg Coleman Law are dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers who have been harmed by negligent corporations that produced and sold defective products.
If you have been injured because of a recalled automotive part or because of another defective product, you may have legal options. Do not wait to contact us to learn more about how a car accident lawyer from our Knoxville office can help you. Our Knoxville injury attorneys provide free consultations and do not charge fees unless we recover compensation for you.