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.
Do car dealer employees commit forgery? "It is like smoking a cigarette," said one employee of a major Connecticut car dealership. This individual, a salesman who was upset with his employer, had agreed to talk with me about dealership practices. He confirmed what we have long suspected: car dealership employees sign customers names to documents all the time.
GAP protection covers the scenario where a motor vehicle is totaled in an accident or stolen and not recovered. Insurance will pay for the retail value of the car minus the deductible. If that is not enough to pay the car loan, the consumer is responsible for the difference. If a consumer has GAP protection, they theoretically will not have to pay that difference (but, read on - many consumers learn that they do not have the protection that they think that they have). The term "GAP", which evokes the image of a gap between the insurance payout and the outstanding loan balance, is sometimes used as an acronym for product names such as "Guaranteed Asset Protection" or "Guaranteed Auto Protection".