Car manufacturers and dealers heavily promote their certified pre-owned vehicles. But, in our experience, certified pre-owned is mostly a marketing gimmick. Although dealerships promise that the certified cars have undergone a stringent inspection, we find that in many cases, either no inspection was performed or defects are overlooked. As a result, many of these "certified" cars are not worth the higher price that dealerships charge for certified pre-owned vehicles.
We have handled dozens of cases involving sales of certified pre-owned cars that would never have passed the stringent inspections promised by the manufacturers and the dealers. Many of these cars were previously wrecked and not properly repaired. Some had paint defects, and quite a few were not safe to drive.
Other cases involve cars with mechancal or other defects. While most certified pre-owned cars include a warranty, consumers buying certified cars do not want the hassle and inconvenience of having to bring cars in for repairs.
The sale of defective cars as certified pre-owned is one of the most serious types of auto dealer fraud that we encounter in our practice.
We recommend that anyone considering buying a used car get an independent inspection. While consumers should be able to rely upon a car dealer's promise that it has thoroughly inspected a car, we think that an independent inspection is the best way to avoid problems. And, consumers should think twice before paying a premium for "certified" cars.
Consumers who purchased defective cars that were "certified" by a dealer can recover damages and in many cases, punitive damages. We have also successfully forced many dealerships to take back defective cars.