CHARLOTTE, N.C. — People from all over are in the Queen City for the City of Charlotte's Rolling Stock Auction Saturday morning, hoping to score a deal on a used car, truck or van that once belonged to the city's fleet.
The proceeds from the auction go back to the city, but our Defenders investigation found some of the cars people plan on driving off the lot still have serious safety issues, and some of them the city should've fixed more than a decade ago.
"Did you know that some of the cars being sold here have unfixed safety recalls on them?" we asked potential buyer Tim Porter.
"No. No, I didn't," he said.
All you have to do is run the car's VIN numbers on safercar.gov to find out if there's an open safety recall. We did and found several flagged for active safety recalls, some with multiple recalls.
The city maintains the cars are conveyed "as is," telling us Charlotte has no obligation to fix safety recalls before selling them. Instead, the city says it's up to the buyer.
Jason Turner sells cars for a living and makes a habit of doing his homework when buying.
"I always run the CarFax on them," he said.
Turner said fixing recalls before he sells a car is the right thing to do.
"Before you sell your cars, do you fix the safety recalls?" we asked.
"Oh yeah, always," he said. "With my reputation on the line, I make sure everything's right."
When we pushed the city of Charlotte about our discovery several months ago, the city and auctioneer added a disclaimer on the auction's website and on the paperwork on the actual cars, urging people to check for open safety recalls.
The city also intended to reach out to people who previously bought auctioned cars and remind them they should check for safety recalls, too.