Fraud in Certified Preowned Cars

Almost all major vehicle manufactures have a Certified Preowned Program.  Generally, speaking, this is a manufacturers way of raising the price on late model vehicles.  It usually means the vehicle is no more than 3-4 years old and the purpose of the certified preowned program is to sell you a car that has been run through a rigorous inspection and is being sold with an extended manufacturer’s warranty.  No surprisingly, as more manufacturers offer certified preowned programs, there are an increasing number of fraud cases.  But, why?

To be quite blunt, any time there is a chance to make more money, you can bet auto dealerships will try to do the bare minimum to maximize profits.  In order to see how this happens, let’s make sure we understand the basic certified preowned program.  A manufacturer will provide a dealership with a set of guidelines that need to be followed in order to consider a used vehicle certified preowned.  Most of the time, this includes a multi point inspection check list and some kind of vehicle history, like a CarFax report.  In order to maximize profits, a dealership doesn’t want to pay a mechanic for hours of his/her time reviewing this vehicle.  After all, if the mechanic spends two hours reviewing the vehicle only to find a defect that fails the certified preowned check list, then those two hours are lost because the dealership can no longer sell that used car for more money.  As such, the dealership may cut corners and certify a car that should not be certified.

When this happens, you may have a case of auto fraud.  Here is what you need to do:

  1. When you buy the car, ask for a copy of the multi point inspection and the CarFax.  Don’t let the dealership simply show it to you.  Demand that you get to keep a copy.  If they dealership refuses, that’s a sign that something is wrong.
  2. If you are able, take the car to an independent mechanic before you buy it to have the vehicle reviewed for defects.
  3. If you are not able to have the vehicle reviewed before purchase, take it to a mechanic as soon as possible after you buy it.
  4. Have your mechanic perform the multi point inspection to see if there are any defects that should have failed.

If your mechanic finds failed items, call an attorney immediately.  Do not take it back to the dealership.  The dealership will not work with you and you will not receive a fair deal trying to work with the dealership alone.  It is important you get an experienced auto fraud attorney on your side as soon as possible.  That attorney will be helpful in getting you a free refund and may even be able to make the dealership pay your attorney’s fee.

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