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Attorney General Josh Stein Reaches $1 Million Settlement Requiring CarMax to Disclose Safety Recalls

For Immediate Release:
Thursday, December 1, 2022

Contact: Nazneen Ahmed
919-716-0060

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today reached a $1 million settlement with CarMax Auto Superstores, Inc., that will require CarMax to disclose open unrepaired recalls related to car safety before people buy used vehicles. North Carolina’s share of this multistate settlement is $30,086.29.

“Families need to know that their cars are safe,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “I’m pleased that as a result of this settlement, CarMax will be upfront about potential vehicle safety and recall issues when North Carolinians are considering buying a used car from them. This information will help people to make the decision about the car that’s right for them.”

CarMax will continue to use the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) vehicle identification number tool to provide this important safety information to potential buyers. People can also check for any open recalls on their vehicles here. This industry-changing settlement helps establish that used car dealers should tell people about open safety recalls before they buy a car. CarMax now includes hyperlinks for vehicles advertised online and QR codes for vehicles on the lot that link directly to any open recalls on the vehicle. CarMax will also present the consumer with copies of any open recalls and have the consumer sign a disclosure document that states the open recall and the safety risks associated with the recall before they look at any other sales paperwork. Additionally, CarMax won’t advertise that vehicles are “safe” or have been repaired for “safety” issues.

If you’re buying a used car, here are some tips to consider:

  • Make sure you’re paying a fair price. Check resources at your local library or visit www.nadaguides.com or www.edmunds.com to find out the market value of the make and model you are considering.
  • Read the terms of the contract. If the deal is being financed by the auto dealership or a lender solicited by the dealer, make sure the contract states the interest rate, also known as the annual percentage rate (APR). The contract should also contain everything you and the dealer have agreed upon.
  • Take a test drive. Drive the car under many different conditions, such as on hills, highways and in stop-and-go-traffic.
  • Inspect the car thoroughly. Consider taking the car to a mechanic you trust for a pre-purchase inspection prior to signing any sale documents.
  • Ask whether the car has ever been in an accident or is flood damaged. Get the answer in writing. Find out as much as possible about the car’s prior history and examine its maintenance record.
  • Check on defects and recalls. Visit the National Highway Safety Administration online or call 1-888-DASH-2-DOT to see if the vehicle has had problems or recalls reported.

CarMax cooperated fully with the investigation, and a copy of the settlement is available here.

Attorney General Stein is joined in this settlement by the Attorneys General of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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