Are you buying a used car with an open recall?

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Nina Pineda has a 7 On Your Side investigation into dealerships selling cars with open, unused recalls.

7 On Your Side's undercover investigation finds used car dealerships selling cars with open, unfixed, recalls.

Right now by law new car dealers can't sell cars that have the faulty airbags in them, but for used car dealers, it's perfectly legal to wheel and deal without a whisper or hint about open recalls. It's a loophole a local U.S. Senator says if we don't close, can lead to more people being injured or even killed.

One dealer was talking about a 2009 Honda CR-V for sale on his lot. Most buyers wouldn't know, but it's equipped with the potentially deadly defect.

It contains one of the recalled Takata Airbags, blamed for causing hundreds of injuries even deaths for exploding metal shrapnel when deployed.

So Nina Pineda disguised herself and went undercover with a list from CarFax to a half dozen car lots selling the vehicles with open recalls.

Some salesman came out and told 7 On Your Side there "was" a recall and some others didn't know.

But one dealer in Queens, over two days assured 7 On Your Side four separate times that a car had no open recalls.

After we asked, he even showed Pineda two vehicle history reports backing that up.

"There's something called AutoCheck one called CARFAX. So sometimes one catches what the other one misses," the salesman said.

The problem is that both of his reports were outdated. A current CARFAX and AutoCheck show an open recall listed last January. Yet, the seller insisted we could trust his reports.

Right now dealers don't have to disclose potentially fatal flaws on used cars, and many have no fix or remedy available.

"They ought to be fixed before they're sold," said Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal. His bill would close the used car dealer loophole requiring safety defects to be fixed before cars leave the lot.

"There is no excuse for a car dealer to be purposefully ignorant, to see nothing, hear nothing, and put people at risk families in jeopardy," Blumenthal said.

Yet for now, dealers can remain unaware that what they're selling is defective.

The Big Takeway: It's up you to check for yourself before buying a car. CARFAX offers the recall status for free so does NHTSA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration just type in a VIN number and check. You also need to recheck because new information about recalls or accident gets reported all the time.
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