Dealer’s Disclosure of Recall Search

DEALER COMPLIANCE ALERT – 8/23/18
A service made possible by donations to the TRVA Government Relations Fund.

TRVA began informing its members, as early as 2015, on the need to be aware of and report to consumers the importance of RV recalls. On June 7, 2018, TRVA provided each dealer with an updated Dealer Compliance Alert on How to Search for and Report RV Recalls, particularly aimed for new RV sales. Today, we are updating this information further.

During the Dealer Only Meeting at convention, Monday, August 20th, 2018, several questions arose about the need to document recall information to customers. After the convention, I received numerous inquiries about the recall information which had been sent previously, therefore, this Dealer Compliance Alert will also include the most recent update from June 7, 2018 as an attachment.

In addition, questions pertaining to the sale of units which DO NOT HAVE A RECALL NOTICE OR ARE NOT SUBJECT TO A RECALL, have arisen. In other words, how to document there is no recall action to be taken. This has prompted TRVA to create a new form for your use when selling a new, used or consignment RV which does not have an active or outstanding recall.

Following this memo, you will find the form and an example of a recall search which was conducted on a 2018 Heartland Bighorn. Because the search found no active recalls to be outstanding, use the new form titled Dealer’s Disclosure of Recall Search, by completing it in full and attaching the proofs or backup that the search was performed. The sample search contains the three searches which can be conducted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) website. https://www.nhtsa.gov/recalls

The sample search contains all three possible search responses:

(1) by year, manufacturer and model,
(2) by vehicle type, and
(3) by NHTSA ID.

Please note, unless there is an outstanding recall there will not be any means to search by NHTSA ID. This was included because the NHTSA website clearly states a search can be conducted in three methods, so we have chosen to demonstrate all three in case the consumer asks, “why didn’t you search by NHTSA ID?”

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The example was made by taking screenshots of the search results and pasting them into one page for simplification. Each dealer’s search can be accomplished this manner or simply print the search screen results of each search and attach three pages to the form. Either way, you will have properly informed the consumer, on that date, there were no active recalls existing on the unit being considered for purchase.

Remember, this is the same process to be exercised on new, used or consignment units. Unfortunately, there is simply no method, known at present time, on documenting if an existing recall has been properly remedied on a used or consignment RV. So, if you are considering accepting a trade-in, going to an auction, buying a used unit or accepting a consignment, you should be very cautious and check on the unit’s recall status before determining a value or attempting to resell it.

Please make sure the form is completed fully and signed by all parties, the purchasers and the person conducting the search. Provide a copy to the purchaser and retain one copy in the deal file jacket.

Need help on how to conduct a search or something else pertaining to the NHTSA or recalls? Call the TRVA state office, we are here to assist you.

Now, let’s briefly discuss why this is so important.

Failure to disclose a recall can result in a dealership having liability from the regulatory agencies as well as cause the dealer to be engaged in a lawsuit. Click on the following links to see how a situation has developed and is impacting General RV in Florida.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/jacksonville-couple-files-lawsuit-against-rv-dealership

https://www.news4jax.com/consumer/second-elderly-couple-suing-orange-park-rv- dealership

By referring to these two news stories, we are not suggesting General RV has done anything wrong or harmed anyone for TRVA does not know any of the facts of these cases. We refer to these situations as examples of how quickly something can escalate and with good documentation perhaps the matter could be resolved.

By properly documenting your actions to inform your customers you may create a valid and defensible position for your company and remove yourself from potential risk. There is no guarantee we can provide you, but we can at the very least suggest how to begin to take steps to be prepared for a future event.

The future of how to correctly manage recalls is still a bit cloudy and we expect to develop more Dealer Compliance Alerts as additional information is obtained or developed.

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It is predictable, recall issues, if not documented properly, will or may generate Deceptive Trade Practice lawsuits as plaintiff attorneys begin to focus on the RV industry. Every dealer should be cautious with their handling of RV recalls.

The following forms are prepared and presented in Microsoft Word, so they may be customized
with your dealership’s name and information.

TRVA does not dispense legal advice to its members, but we do issue Dealer Compliance Alerts to make members aware of certain compliance issues, exposure to potential liabilities, hazards or impediments to conducting their business.

Dealers are encouraged to address their concerns with their legal counsel or discuss matters with the manufacturers they represent. If dealers have issues, concerns or questions, please bring them to the attention of TRVA, perhaps we can be of some assistance.