A recent study by the Consumer Federation of America found that there were 70 million recalled cars that were on American roads. "While these open recalls present a clear hazard to the occupants of these vehicles, they are also a hazard to the rest of the driving public," said Jack Gillis, CFA's Executive Director.
Recalls on used cars are issued when a manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determines that a vehicle is not safe to drive. If a used car is recalled, the manufacturer must fix the problem, replace the defective part, or in extreme cases repurchase the vehicle. Recalled cars that have not been repaired can be dangerous.
Consumers can save a lot of money by buying a used car from a private seller rather than going to a dealership. Private sellers will usually sell for a lot less than a dealership would charge for a comparable vehicle. But, when buying from a private seller, consumers must be careful to avoid curbsiders.
New cars typically come with two remote control keys. But, many consumers are surprised when they are given a single key after purchasing used cars from a dealership, and they are understandably upset when they learn that it will cost $300-$400 to purchase another key.
A recent article in Consumer Reports states that Certified Pre-Owned cars can cost hundreds or even thousands dollars more than other comparable vehicles.
Are Certified Pre-Owned ("CPO") cars worth the extra money? A recent article by Tribune Newspapers discusses the increased cost of CPO vehicles, which consumers bought at record levels in 2014. Certified pre-owned cars are supposedly subjected to an extensive inspection by dealerships, who "certify" that the vehicles meet stringent standards established by the manufacturer.
The most important thing that a consumer should do before buying a used car is have an independent mechanic inspect the car or truck. A qualified inspector can help car buyers avoid vehicles with serious defects or other problems. Additionally, any minor problems identified in the inspection can help the consumer to either negotiate a better price or convince the dealership to make certain repairs or replace worn parts.
Many consumers tell us that they purchased a vehicle because the car dealership told them that they were approved to buy only that car. This is a particularly nasty type of auto dealer fraud that we call "Passing the Trash".
Incidents of fraud by auto dealers are higher for lower priced cars, according to a recent study. The study, which was conducted by iSeeCars.com, evaluated millions of advertised vehicles and determined that the lower the price, the greater the likelihood that there was fraud relating to the vehicle's history or condition.
Last month, you may have heard about Nick Murray, a Connecticut resident who gained some internet attention from his YouTube videos documenting the unmerchantable condition of his new Porsche 911, as well as his frustration in seeking a refund or replacement under the Connecticut Lemon Law.