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Even Certified Used Cars Could Have Serious Defects

» Posted April 10, 2017Resources | Share This Post

If you buy a new or certified pre-owned car you may assume that the car is safe. You probably believe that it has been checked out by the manufacturer and the dealer to ensure that it will function properly. Unfortunately, even when the car is brand new or is certified, there could be safety defects or serious problems that impact vehicle operations. A San Diego lemon law attorney can assist you in understanding what options you have when faced with vehicle problems.

Car Buyers Are Not Protected by Vehicle Certification

A recent decision by the Federal Trade Commission ran counter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations and has resulted in reduced safety to buyers of used cars. 

The NHTSA made clear that the agency believes car dealers should be required to fix defects when a car has been recalled before selling the car. The NHTSA does not have the authority to mandate that car makers actually make these repairs, and the agency which does have this authority, the FTC, did not follow the NHTSA's recommendation.

Instead, CBS News reported that the FTC ruled that car dealers can advertise cars as being certified pre-owned even if the car is under a recall notice and the safety defect has not been fixed. The dealer simply has to post a notice saying the car could be subject to a recall and giving car buyers information on where to check for recalls.

The ruling from the FTC arose out of claims against General Motors and two used car chains. The FTC claimed it didn't have the authority to tell car makers they have to make repairs. However, some lawmakers and some consumer advocates disagree.

Five Democratic senators and the president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety all came out in opposition to the FTC ruling and argued the agency should have made a different decision to require repairs. 

The president of Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety warned: “The FTC's reckless action will result in more people being killed and injured because of unsafe, defective used cars.”  This could occur because inevitably some car buyers won't see the notice, and they will assume that the pre-owned car certification means it has been checked over and is safe to drive. 

Despite the concerns from advocacy groups, it is unlikely that any regulations or laws will require used car dealers to make fixes any time soon. Consumers will have to protect themselves by being informed shoppers and checking for recalls on their own.

Car buyers should understand the scope and limitations of consumer protection laws. A lemon law attorney can provide assistance to car buyers who purchase a new or used vehicle that has repeated defects.


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