Used Car Buyers Beware: Unfixed Recalls Are on the Market | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Picture of Salvatore J. Zambri Posted by: Salvatore J. Zambri, founding member and partner

Following a year of an unprecedented number of vehicles recalls for safety defects, potential used car buyers need to be more cautious than ever before in purchasing a used car. Currently, there are no laws that require sellers of pre-owned vehicles, both private sellers and registered used car dealers, to make any of the recalled repairs. Sellers are not even required to inform potential buyers that a vehicle was subject to a recall. As a result, since at least 20% of recalled vehicles are never repaired, possibly millions of vehicles were sold without safety repairs.

Official government research indicates that about 25% of all drivers simply ignore recall warnings. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief, “We cannot allow vehicles with potentially dangerous defects to leave used-car lots without the necessary repairs.” With no laws to protect potential buyers of used cars, the best practical advice is for buyers to thoroughly research any recalls for a vehicle being considered for purchase, then demand evidence that the necessary repairs were made. One available option for potential buyers is the Department of Transportation’s free online search tool for recalls. By entering the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), consumers are able to identify uncompleted recalls. To learn more about vehicle recalls, provides an overview of specific vehicle recall information.

About the author:

Mr. Zambri is a board-certified civil trial attorney by the National Board of Trial Advocates and a Past-President of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. The association recently named him “Trial Lawyer of the Year”.  Super Lawyers recently named him among the “Top Ten” lawyers in the Metro Area (out of more than 80,000 attorneys). He has been rated by Washingtonian magazine as a “Big Gun” and among the “top 100″ lawyers in the entire metropolitan area. The magazine also describes him as “one of Washington’s best-most honest and effective lawyers” who specializes in personal injury matters, including automobile accident claims, premises liability, product liability, medical malpractice, and work-accident claims. He has successfully litigated multiple cases against truck and bus companies, the Washington Metropolitan Area transit Authority, and other automobile owners.  His law firm, in fact, has obtained the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case involving WMATA.  Mr. Zambri has also been acknowledged as one of “The Best Lawyers in America” by Best Lawyers (2014 edition) and has been repeatedly named a “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyer magazine (2014) – national publications that honor the top lawyers in America.

If you have any questions about your legal rights, please email Mr. Zambri at or call him at 202-822-1899.