In $1 million settlement, CarMax to disclose unrepaired recalls, AG says

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Thursday, December 1, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a $1 million settlement with CarMax that will require the company to disclose open unrepaired recalls before people buy used vehicles.

North Carolina's share of the multistate settlement is $30,086.29.

"Families need to know that their cars are safe," Stein said. "I'm pleased that as a result of this settlement, CarMax will be upfront about potential vehicle safety and recall issues when North Carolinians are considering buying a used car from them. This information will help people to make the decision about the car that's right for them."

CarMax will continue to use the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration's (NHTSA) vehicle identification number tool to provide this information to potential buyers. People can also check here for any open recalls on their vehicles .

As part of the deal, CarMax is including hyperlinks for vehicles advertised online and QR codes for vehicles on the lot that link directly to any open recalls on the vehicle. CarMax will also give consumers copies of any open recalls. Additionally, CarMax won't advertise that vehicles are "safe" or have been repaired for "safety" issues.

In a statement provided to ABC11, CarMax said that since 2014, it has been disclosing vehicle specific recall information in its sales process and online advertising. The company said the settlement terms "are consistent" with its 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," said Joe Wilson, Chief Operating Officer. "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."

CarMax added that its "purpose is to drive integrity by being honest and transparent in every interaction" and said its "approach to disclosing recalls is no different."

The AG's office offered tips for buying a used car:

  • Make sure you're paying a fair price. Check resources at your local library or visit or to find out the market value of the make and model you are considering.
  • Read the terms of the contract. If the deal is being financed by the auto dealership or a lender solicited by the dealer, make sure the contract states the interest rate. The contract should also contain everything you and the dealer have agreed upon.
  • Take a test drive. Drive the car under many different conditions, such as on hills, highways and in stop-and-go-traffic


  • Inspect the car thoroughly. Consider taking the car to a mechanic you trust for a pre-purchase inspection before signing any documents.
  • Ask whether the car has ever been in an accident or is flood damaged. Get the answer in writing. Find out as much as you can about the car's prior history and examine its maintenance record.

CarMax cooperated fully with the investigation, Stein's office said. A full copy of the settlement can be found here.

Stein was joined in the settlement by the Attorneys General of 35 other states, including neighboring Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia,