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Certified Pre-Owned Cars May Have Dangerous Safety Defects

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for used car signs.jpgMost car manufacturers have certified pre-owned ("CPO") programs. Typically, CPO programs involve an inspection by an authorized dealership, who "certifies" that the car meets certain standards.  For example, Toyota advertises that it has a "160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection."

Most consumers assume that these cars have been carefully checked out and that they are of higher than average quality. Unfortunately, that is frequently not the case.  Many cars sold as certified pre-owned have not been thoroughly checked out, and some of them even have serious damage.

Surprisingly, some cars sold as "certified" are subject to safety recalls and have not yet been fixed. That means that cars that are not safe to drive are sold by car dealerships as certified pre-owned vehicles.

Thankfully, the Federal Trade Commission is cracking down on this practice. However, it is considering a settlement that would permit car dealerships to continue to "certify" dangerous cars provided that they give a written disclosure that the cars are subject to an open recall. The problem with the proposed settlement is that many consumers do not read all of the disclosures that they are given.

Most people believe that a "certified" car is a safe car. No dealership should be allowed to certify a car with a dangerous defect. The FTC is accepting public comments on this issue. We encourage anyone who agrees that dealerships should not sell dangerous cars as "certified" should let the FTC know. Tell them that car dealerships should not sell cars with open recalls as CPO or certified cars. You can submit your comments here.

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