Can auto dealers resell a recalled vehicle?

Millions of vehicles have been recalled due to dangerous Takata airbag inflators. In fact, over 100 million vehicles have been recalled so far because of their propensity for exploding in an accident and spewing metal fragments throughout the cabin of vehicles. A problem that has caused 16 documented deaths so far around the world.

Considering the fact that so many millions of these deadly airbag inflators have been recalled, however, logic dictates that many of the faulty airbags will never get tracked down, replaced and repaired. As such, numerous -- even millions -- of unfixed vehicles will remain on the road endangering drivers and their passengers. On the legal front this begs the question, do auto sellers have a legal duty to fix recalled cars? Or, if they don't fix them, do sellers have a legal duty to notify their customers that they are about to purchase a potentially dangerous car that has been recalled but never fixed?

The answer is that dealers have a legal obligation to disclose information about the recall to the customer. Dealers must notify consumers in writing about any information concerning the history of an automobile that might deter a customer from buying the vehicle. That said, when making a purchase from an individual seller, there is no obligation to disclose this information.

No matter what, consumers should make an effort to investigate the current status of their vehicle -- and any vehicle they plan to purchase -- in terms of recalls. Information about recalls can be found at the Transport Canada webpage, and also dealer contact information can be found there. When a used car is purchased, consumers can register the vehicle and their contact information with the manufacturer in order to receive notices about any new recalls that could affect them.

Ontario drivers are encouraged to play it safe and research recall information about any new vehicle they purchase -- and also vehicles they currently own. Also, if a consumer is misled by an auto dealer, not told about a recall that affected the vehicle, and suffers injury as a result, the injured person might have a viable claim for damages that could be made.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "Are dealers legally allowed to sell cars that are subject to recalls?," Jason Tchir, Oct. 27, 2016

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