CarMax's two stores in Connecticut have recently been selling a significant number of vehicles on recall lists, according to a new report conducted by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group.
The report found that many cars for sale have been affected by recalls but not addressed while on the lot at CarMax.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal described the independent inquiry into CarMax as "chilling" and said the practice is something that needs to stop.
"Bottom line: CarMax is playing a deadly game of 'used car recall roulette' with consumer lives," Blumenthal said during a news conference Monday.
The ConnPIRG report examined cars on the two CarMax lots earlier this summer using data from CarMax itself.
The group found that in East Haven, 42 out of 261 total cars for sale at one point in July were on recall lists but hadn't yet had the problems addressed by manufacturers. At the company's Hartford location, there were 32 vehicles out of 305 that had been subject to recalls.
The recall issues were wide ranging and included seat belt defects, air bags failing to deploy and even possible fires as a result of faulty catalytic converters.
CarMax sales associates provide information regarding National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports and other safety information to customers shopping for a car. CarMax also publishes all such information on its website.
When it comes to safety recalls, it's up to the customer to resolve the issues following purchase.
In a statement, a spokesman said the company leads the industry in transparency.
"Before any customer purchases a used vehicle in our stores, a CarMax associate and the customer review the vehicle’s NHTSA VIN-specific recall report and the customer signs a form acknowledging receipt of the recall report with their sales documents," the spokesperson said.
The statement went on to say the fact that ConnPIRG obtained its information from CarMax directly was a tribute to the company's transparency.
Evan Preston with ConnPIRG disagrees, saying CarMax has an even greater responsibility than merely posting information on websites.
"The small print used to disclose the flaws in these vehicles are hiding very serious problems," Preston said.
Blumenthal said the issue should not be a financial one when it comes to recalls, which is why CarMax should resolve the issues before making a sale.
"The cost to CarMax is virtually nothing, literally, because almost all of these cars is (sic) under warranty, so CarMax can do these repairs for virtually no cost and its failing to do so is absolutely reprehensible," he said.