Iowa Joins Multistate Suit Over Pre-Owned Vehicle Recall Standards

Visiting car dealership

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(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa's part of a multistate, $1 million settlement with CarMax, about disclosing recalls. Federal law prohibits the sale of new cars with open recalls, but there's no such rule for pre-owned vehicles. The States legal action aimed to create those standards for the auto industry to protect consumers.

"When buying a vehicle, Iowans have the expectation they are receiving reliable and accurate information from the dealer, especially when it comes to the safety of the vehicle,” Iowa Attorney Tom Miller said. “With this settlement, CarMax customers can know that they have complete information about any safety recalls that apply to their vehicle.” 

The settlement establishes that used car dealers should generally disclose open safety recalls to consumers before they buy. Specifically, CarMax will now include hyperlinks for vehicles advertised online and QR codes for vehicles on the lot that link directly to any open recalls on the vehicle so consumers have access to the data.

CarMax will also present the consumer with copies of any open recalls and obtain the consumer’s signature on that standalone disclosure document before presenting any other sales paperwork. Additionally, CarMax agrees to not represent vehicles as “safe.” 

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 consumers.  

CarMax has issued a statement as well about the settlement.

Since 2014, CarMax has been disclosing vehicle specific recall information in our sales process and online advertising. The settlement terms are consistent with CarMax’s longstanding practices. 


“CarMax led the industry in recall transparency by sharing vehicle specific recall information in-store and online to ensure our customers know about open recalls prior to purchase. In fact, as soon as NHTSA made available vehicle specific recall information in 2014, we began providing the information to customers nationwide and we continue to do so today. As CarMax is not authorized by manufacturers to complete recall repairs and close out recalls, we work hard to ensure our customers have the information they need to take action and have recalls repaired at a manufacturer-authorized facility,” said Joe Wilson, Chief Operating Officer.


CarMax’s purpose is to drive integrity by being honest and transparent in every interaction and our approach to disclosing recalls is no different. Please find more information about CarMax’s commitment to recall transparency here.


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