Dealer Fraud: Certified Scams

If you read this blog in the past you probably recall that I believe all Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programs are scams. Consumer Reports recently ran an article on certified car programs. The ultimate opinion of the writer was that CPO vehicles are not worth the added expense. http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2015/06/are-certified-preowned-cars-worth-it/index.htm#

"Certified used cars tend to cost thousands of dollars more than a typical used car-much of that upcharge is due to an included warranty or service contract. Consumer Reports has historically advised against paying extra for separate warranty coverage, often known as an extended warranty-one of the program's main selling points."

"Actuarial data shows that you might be better served saving the cash you're putting into the premium price of a certified preowned (CPO) and using it for a rainy day repair on a traditional used car."

As I have written several times before. The manufacturers and dealer talk a good game. They talk about comprehensive, rigorous and careful inspections. They talk about peace of mind and getting a new car for the price of a used car. They talk about CPO vehicles being the best used cars on the market. None of it is true. There is little to no oversight or accountability.

Dealers certify vehicles without regard to condition and ignore the required procedures. And they rarely are disciplined.

The article makes this point nicely.

"Most important, just because a car is certified does not necessarily mean it is trouble-free. Consumers have taken legal action claiming that certified inspections were not properly performed, or that certified vehicles had serious defects, some of which affected vehicle safety. Don't assume that certification means the vehicle hasn't been wrecked, flooded, or suffered other serious damage-or even that it has been properly inspected."

The article contained some data I had not seen before.

$23,200

The average amount paid in 2014 for a car labeled 'certified preowned.'

2.3 million

Number of certified preowned vehicles sold in 2014.

So, even when you may be buying a CPO vehicle, you should still insist on getting it inspected first by a trusted mechanic, and insist on seeing all of the dealer's inspection and service records, both invoices and Repair Orders, both fronts and backs, and insist on getting a comprehensive dealer service event journal print out.

If you think you have been the victim of Dealer Fraud, you should consult with a qualified attorney immediately.

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