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Court Says CarMax Must Tell California Buyers Condition of Inspected Car Parts

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author photo by Doug DeMuro October 2016

CarMax must disclose the condition of individual components it inspects before selling a car in California. So says a federal court in California, which recently ruled on the issue after a lawsuit from a man who purchased an Infiniti from a CarMax dealership in Costa Mesa, California.

According to the ruling, it won't be enough for CarMax to merely state that a used vehicle has passed its inspection. Instead, CarMax must disclose the actual condition of each inspected part -- like the brake pads, the electronics and more.

The ruling comes after a lawsuit from Travis Gonzales, who bought a 2007 Infiniti G37 in California and soon began experiencing problems with the car -- including worn brake pads and various electronic issues. This was in spite of the fact that Gonzales's car had passed CarMax's "inspection," which doesn't list components individually but rather gives a more general report -- a violation, the court ruled, of the California Buyer's Bill of Rights.

So how does this affect the world-famous CarMax Range Rover? Interestingly, it wouldn't. Since this ruling only affects vehicles sold in California (due to a California-specific law), CarMax isn't required to make adjustments to its inspection reports in other states -- and since I bought my Range Rover in Georgia, its selling process probably wouldn't change. With that said, CarMax could change its inspection reports across the country to streamline its inspection process.

And while I didn't buy my "bumper-to-bumper" Aston Martin from CarMax, the ruling could affect Aston -- and other brands -- too. When I bought my Aston Martin (also not in California), it included an "inspection" in order to qualify for its certified pre-owned warranty -- but I didn't get a component-by-component inspection report. Although I'm not sure how California-based Aston Martin dealers handle these sales, it seems like this ruling makes it clear that any automaker or dealer claiming to offer an "inspection" must detail the actual condition of a vehicle's components -- meaning this ruling could affect more than just CarMax.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Court Says CarMax Must Tell California Buyers Condition of Inspected Car Parts - Autotrader