Certified Pre-Owned Lawyer

Lemon Law Attorney Serving Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura and San Bernardino and Other Areas in California

Certified Pre-Owned Cars

So you just bought a certified pre-owned vehicle. In 2007 alone, 1.6 million of these certified pre-owned vehicles were sold in the United States.

A majority of these vehicles were no more than six or seven years old and had relatively low mileage. However, the question many ask is, does buying a certified pre-owned vehicle protect you from getting stuck with a lemon? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding "NO."

What Does Certified Pre-Owned Mean?

Almost all of these vehicles carry extended warranties and are inspected by dealer mechanics to pass a factory checklist. After that, the dealer makes any necessary repairs and upgrades. This is why certified pre-owned vehicles cost about $1,700 more than a used vehicle that is not certified.

The primary advantage that a consumer derives from buying a certified pre-owned vehicle is the extended warranty. The warranties vary widely depending on the brand, make and model. While coverage could be six years and 100,000 miles for a BMW, it could stop at three months and 3,000 miles for a Dodge.

Although certified pre-owned vehicles carry no guarantee that they will be devoid of defects, they tend to be in better shape than standard used cars. But it is still advisable to check the car to see if it is defective, preferably using an independent mechanic. You should also bring the inspection sheet checklist from the dealer and it will help your mechanic do a more thorough and detailed inspection so you don't end up with a lemon.

Car Buyer's Bill of Rights

According to the California's Car Buyer's Bill of Rights, consumers who buy certified pre-owned vehicles are entitled to a variety of protections:

  1. The used car dealer has to perform a comprehensive inspection of the car and give the purchaser a copy of the report.
  2. The odometer reading must match the actual mileage that has been put onto the vehicle.
  3. If the vehicle was bought under a Federal or State Warranty Law (i.e. repurchased), it cannot be certified pre-owned.
  4. If flooding, fire, or an accident damaged the vehicle, and it has not been restored to safe operational condition, it cannot be sold as certified pre-owned.
  5. If the title of the vehicle designates the car as junk, salvaged, buyback, or manufacturer repurchase, or a like designation, the car cannot be sold as certified pre-owned.
  6. If the vehicle had previously been sold "as is" (no warranty), or if the vehicle has a damaged frame, it cannot be sold as certified pre-owned.

Other Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle Requirements

California Vehicle Code Section 11713.18 sets forth other requirements for advertising a used car as certified. This section elaborates on what we discussed above. It stipulates that violations can be actionable under a variety of laws including the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and the Unfair Competition Law ( Section 17500 of the Business and Professions Code). Also, the rights and remedies afforded are cumulative – in other words, if you seek action under one law, you will not be limited from seeking action under another law.

Importantly, Section 11713.18 does not apply to the sale of used motorcycles or used motor vehicles that are "off highway".

Prevention Tips

Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to make sure you don't get stuck with a "certified pre-owned lemon."

  • Shop around for the best deal just as you would for a new car and don't forget to negotiate. Be sure to comparison shop for the best certification programs. Sites such as Kelley Blue Book and Intellichoice make it easy for you to see what each manufacturer's program has to offer in terms of warranties and inspections.
  • Find out from the dealer what parts were checked and fixed during their inspection. Do your research. Look up the model to see if it has a history of maintenance problems. Find out if expensive repairs have been made or if such repairs are covered under the warranty.
  • Get all the details about the warranty program to find out how much you will have to pay for repair costs if the vehicle breaks down.
  • Be careful when you are dealing with these certified programs. Ask a lot of questions.

If you believe that your certified pre-owned used car is a lemon, you may be entitled to significant remuneration, including your money back, as well as court costs and attorney's fees. To that end, please connect with the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today to take definitive action.

We have a high success rate with lemon law cases and decades of experience working on these matters. Call 818-597-2610 right now to schedule your free half hour consultation.