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What Does it Mean to Purchase a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?


Many used car dealers, in an effort to put consumers at ease about the safety of their products, market their vehicles as being “Certified Pre-Owned.” This term is used to refer to vehicles that have been refurbished, but have also undergone and passed an inspection checklist. While this title gives many purchasers peace of mind, the reality is that this term often means very little in regards to a vehicle’s fitness for sale. This is largely due to the fact that there is no defined industry standard definition of what qualifies as certified pre-owned. Instead, each brand uses its own checklist and point system, some of which are not exhaustive or even good indicators that a vehicle is safe. In fact, some dealerships market their vehicles as certified even when they haven’t been inspected at all.

Consumers who discover that the used vehicle that they purchased was marketed as being Certified Pre-Owned despite being defective, or unable to pass state inspections can be held liable in court. Unfortunately, filing this type of claim can be complicated, so if you recently bought a used car and later discovered that it was defective, it is important to consult with an experienced Philadelphia used car fraud lawyer who can help you seek compensation for your losses.

What Qualifies as a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle?

Theoretically, vehicles that have been branded as Certified Pre-Owned have undergone mechanical, operational, and cosmetic evaluations. As mentioned previously, there is no set industry standard inspection with which dealers must comply. Instead, each dealer or manufacturer uses its own inspection checklist. For instance, some systems assign points for each inspected part or mechanism, such as the transmission, brake system, tires, and cosmetic features, while other inspections involve an assessment of the vehicle’s history, or even a road test.

In some cases, unscrupulous dealers don’t even conduct additional inspections, but merely claim that a vehicle is certified in order to charge more from consumers. When this occurs, customers who purchase vehicles that end up being defective could be eligible to recover damages compensating them for their losses.

Pennsylvania Law

Dealerships that claim to sell Certified Pre-Owned vehicles must adhere to Pennsylvania’s disclosure laws, which require dealers to disclose frame, transmission, flood, and differential damage. These laws also prohibit dealerships from using false advertising practices, which includes claiming that a vehicle is Certified Pre-Owned, despite being in poor condition. Those who have been wronged by used car dealerships may also have a claim under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits of certifying a product that does not actually meet the alleged standard.

Call an Experienced Used Car Fraud Lawyer Today for Help with Your Case

If you purchased a vehicle that was advertised as being Certified Pre-Owned and later learned that it was defective, please contact dedicated Philadelphia used car fraud attorney Louis S. Schwartz at CONSUMERLAWPA.com to learn more about your legal options.




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