When a dealer or manufacturer puts a used vehicle through an inspection and makes repairs to ensure the vehicle is running properly, it can then be sold as a certified pre-owned vehicle. Many consumers are willing to pay more for this type of vehicle under the assumption that it is in better shape than others. However, some auto dealers take advantage of consumers by selling vehicles as certified pre-owned when these vehicles have a history of performance problems.

6 Guidelines When Purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle

How can you avoid becoming the victim of auto fraud as a result of a certified pre-owned scam? Here are six helpful tips:

  1. Demand to see and inspect both the front and back of the vehicle’s title. Before you sign the purchase contract the mileage statement on that title should match the vehicle’s odometer. In addition, the title should not state that the car has a history of performance issues; and you should not see the following words and phrases: “salvage,” “junk,” “rebuilt,” “flood,” “recovered theft,” or “lemon law buyback.”
  2. Know that a pre-owned certified vehicle may have been involved in a wreck or flood, and it may have received serious damage.
  3. Request that the dealer provide you with a free used car history report. Call the reporting service to verify that the report has not been altered. You may also wish to conduct a free search at the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) website. If the report indicates no prior accidents, the car may still have been in one. Have a witness with you and get the salesman to verify it has not been damaged or in an accident and if he or she will not, have it taken to a body shop of your choice and pay them to examine the vehicle and tell you about any damage they can find.
  4. Have used cars checked by a mechanic before purchasing. The vehicle should be checked thoroughly, preferably by someone who is experienced in auto body repair.
  5. Ensure that any deposit you make on the vehicle before it’s inspected will be refunded. Bring a person with you who can verify the statements of the salesman. Check that the paperwork you sign clearly guarantees this refund. Consider using a credit card to make the deposit payment because a card often makes it easier to dispute fraudulent charges.
  6. Contact your attorney immediately if you buy a certified pre-owned vehicle and discover it had previous problems that were not disclosed to you. He or she can help ensure that your legal rights are protected.

If you purchased a vehicle and it is defective, it is important to act quickly in order to protect your legal rights. We encourage you to contact us today for more information at 804-282-7900.