A Contact 5 Investigation is prompting new changes after we learned that state agencies are selling recalled cars to the general public.
Contact 5 investigator Katie LaGrone has learned Tampa Machinery Auction (TMA), an auction company contracted by local and state government agencies in Florida, has added a new disclosure to its buyers' contracts. It lets consumers know the vehicles they purchase "may or may not have outstanding manufacturer recalls."
The new disclosure also lists the federal government website where consumers can search to find out if a vehicle has an open and active recall.
"We added that [new disclosure] because of you guys," said Dave Nelson, owner of Tampa Machinery Auction. "It's not a bad idea to tell a buyer, 'Hey, you have these tools available to you, use them,'" he said.
Last week, LaGrone shared with the auction company findings from her Contact 5 investigation that found dozens of government agencies auctioning off retired government vehicles that had open and active recalls.
LaGrone discovered local county agencies, sheriff's departments, state agencies including Florida's Highway Patrol, selling cars at auction with potentially dangerous recalls including airbag recalls and wheel issues that could cause a driver to lose control. FHP had nearly two dozen vehicles up for auction with active recalls, the most of any one agency we found.
When asked why the state's top road police were sending cars to auction with active recalls, Beth Frady, spokesperson for its parent agency (DHSMV) said, "in the case of the recall on the specific vehicles you inquired about, when a recall notice is issued, the notice states that a consumer must wait until a second notification is sent by the manufacturer as parts are not available or a remedy to the issue has not yet been determined."
Frady along with the other government agencies selling recalled cars said the vehicles are all sold "as is."
The Florida Highway Patrol is also working on updating its policies following our investigation. WPTV will provide updates as soon as more information becomes available.
Scripps Only Content 2016