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Used Car Dealer Busted Selling Vehicles With Non-Functional Airbags In Kansas

A judge recently ordered a used car dealer to pay nearly $420,000 for selling over a dozen vehicles without functional airbags

 Used Car Dealer Busted Selling Vehicles With Non-Functional Airbags In Kansas

  • A Kansas used car dealer allegedly sold over a dozen vehicles with blown airbags that were not replaced.
  • To hide this fact, at least one of the cars was reportedly equipped with an “airbag simulator device” to turn the warning light off.
  • The dealership was stripped of its business license and ordered to pay $418,197.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates frontal airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives over the course of 30 years. That’s approximately 1,666 lives annually and the government noted front airbags have been standard equipment since the late 1990’s.

While their impact is undeniable, imagine buying a used car only to discover its airbags aren’t operational. That’s a terrifying thought as you’d likely never know until you were involved in an accident.

More: VW Accuses Used Car Dealer Of Having “Bastardized” Logo

Unfortunately, this isn’t a theoretical exercise as District Attorney Marc Bennett of the 18th Judicial District of Kansas has revealed a used car dealer sold over a dozen vehicles without functional airbags. According to his office, a local dealership called Carnation sold a customer a car with an airbag that had already been deployed. To hide this fact, the vehicle was reportedly equipped with an “airbag simulator device … which disabled the airbag light on the dash.”

This sparked an investigation by the Consumer Protection Division, which found “12 more cars sold by Carnation LLC in the first quarter of 2023 alone with blown airbags that were not replaced.” If that wasn’t bad enough, Carnation entered into a consent judgment in 2019 for failing to disclose a blown airbag on a car.

 Used Car Dealer Busted Selling Vehicles With Non-Functional Airbags In Kansas

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Judge William Woolley found the latest actions were “willful violations” of the original consent judgment. This paved the way for a $418,197 (£332,947 / €388,381) default judgment against the dealer for “engaging in deceptive acts and willfully violating a previous consent judgment under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act.”

Impacted customers are set to receive $2,000 (£1,592 / €1,857) in restitution, but the bulk of the money will cover civil penalties, court costs, and investigation fees. Furthermore, the court revoked Carnation’s business license and issued a permanent injunction preventing them from selling vehicles in the state.

While this is an extreme case, the District Attorney used it as an example to remind consumers to “exercise care” when shopping for a used vehicle as “devices can be used to conceal that a car is missing functioning airbags, even if inspected by a mechanic.” They also reminded consumers to get a vehicle history report and do a general VIN search online. The latter is free and can usually indicate if a vehicle was damaged and later sold at auction.

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