FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 16, 2010
IN THE WAKE OF TOYOTA RECALLS SCHUMER: COMPANIES CAN SELL PRODUCTS THAT ARE UNDER RECALL WITHOUT TELLING CONSUMERS - COUNTLESS NY'ERS MAY HAVE BOUGHT TOYOTAS NEW AND USED WITHOUT BEING INFORMED THE CARS NEEDED VITAL REPAIRS
NY Shoppers Have Bought Cars, Computers, and Other New and Used Products that are Under Recall or May Have Needed Repair Without Knowing
Schumer Unveils New Legislation to Require Companies to Notify Consumers if a Product is Subject to Recall or Safety Repair
New Bill Creates First Ever Master List of All Products Under Recall So Consumers and Store Owners Can Easily Log On And See If Product is Under Recall or in Need of Repair
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced he is introducing new legislation that will protect New York consumers from buying products that are under recall or that are known to the seller to be dangerous. Schumer said that countless New Yorkers could have purchased Toyotas, Honda, and many other products that were under recall but under current law the seller was not obligated to tell the buyer that the car was subject to a recall or in need of repair. Schumer’s legislation would require the seller to notify the purchaser up front and would create a first ever list of all products subject to recall to make it easy for New York consumers to know what products may be dangerous.
“To be forewarned is to be forearmed when it comes to buying cars, computers, and other products that could be under recall and potentially dangerous,” Schumer said. “New York consumers might find it hard to believe but stores are allowed to sell them something that could be under a recall or in need of a vital repair. My bill puts in tough new penalties to make sure New Yorkers know what they are getting in to when they make a major purchase.”
Schumer today said there is no rule in place that requires a store to tell a consumer that the product they are about to buy is under a recall or in need of repair. Schumer pointed to the timeline of Toyota recalls as an example of a situation where New York car buyers may have gone to their new or used car dealership and bought a Toyota without knowing the car was under recall.
On September 29, Toyota announced its first voluntary recall 3.8 million Toyota cars due to an accelerator problem. However, since this was a voluntary recall, the company and its dealers were not required to tell a potential car buyer before they made the purchase.
On January 21, Toyota announced another recall of 4.2 million cars. A Queens couple, Jon and Kristen Florencio, recently profiled by WABC Eyewitness News, leased at 2010 Corolla on January 25th. According to the report, the couple specifically asked if the 2010 Corolla was part of the recall. They were told by the dealership it was not. However, the Corolla was part of the recall. Toyota then placed the stop-sell orders on the Corolla on January 26th, after the Florencio’s had already completed their lease.
Under current federal rules, dealers are not required to warn or disclose possible problems to unknowing customers even after the recall was announced. Dealers are allowed to sell and lease cars up until a stop sell order is imposed either by the company or the government.
Schumer said this problem doesn’t just affect Toyota’s and cars. Thousands of new and used products are placed under voluntary recalls every year. From laptop computers, to baby cribs, to kid’s toys, it’s nearly impossible for a consumer to know if and when a specific product is under recall and may be dangerous.
Schumer today announced he will introduce new legislation to protect consumers from unknowingly purchasing products that are under recall or in need of repair.
Schumer’s legislation will require any store or company selling any product to inform a consumer up front if the item they are about to buy is under a recall. Schumer said his bill will designate withholding this information an unfair trade practice enforceable by the FTC and making the company subject to federal fines and penalties. This will stop both new and used sellers from selling products.
Schumer’s bill will also create a first-ever easily-searchable master list of products that are under voluntary and mandatory recall. Right now, the government’s main website, recalls.gov, provides information based on the agency that regulates a certain product making it difficult to navigate.
“This would be a one-stop-shop for consumer protection,” Schumer added.
Under his bill, the unfair trade practice will be to sell anything that is on this "master list" so sellers cannot complain they had no notice.