Are Used Car Dealers Selling Recalled Cars?

ABC News Nightline
Nightline FixApril 4, 2014

You might think when you buy a car from a used car lot that you are hearing everything you need to know about that car.

Think again.

Carfax, a popular vehicle history reporting service, says that more than 3 million used cars from multiple manufacturers are being sold right now, even though they have open recalls.

An ABC News producer went undercover to five New York-area used car lots to ask about cars that were under safety recall, to see whether their salesmen would mention anything about the recalls.
Salesmen at two of the dealers did mention recalls.

But not at Bling Bling Auto Sales in Ozone Park.

When a producer asked about the safety of a 2006 Chevy Cobalt that had been recalled for a problem with the ignition switch -- the same ignition switch that's at the heart of the GM recall fiasco -- owner Angelo Zanghi gave multiple assurances regarding the car. "Listen, it's a small car. But for what it is, it is safe," he said.

Later, the producer pressed further, asking: "There's nothing I need to know about that car?"

Zanghi replied: "Nothing. All I've got to do is put a battery in there. And you saw my write-ups, right? I'm as honest as going to be."

When ABC News correspondent Gio Benitez asked Zanghi about why he didn't disclose the recall on the car, he said: "Well, recalls get recorded once you register the car. We don't know that there's a recall or not."

When Benitez pressed further, showing Zanghi that the recall information was easily found on, Zanghi said: "Well, we don't get these."

There is no state or federal law requiring that used car dealers tell customers about open recalls.

But from now on, Zanghi says he's going to look at the VIN number of the cars he sells to check for a recall. He has since taken the Cobalt off the lot and sent it for repairs.