Consumers willingly pay thousands of dollars more for a "Certified Pre-Owned" label because they believe the manufacturer had a direct role in the certification process. Many consumers are surprised to discover that manufacturers are not involved in the "Certification" process. Most manufacturers advertise that their "Certified Pre-Owned" programs are "Factory" certified. But, certified vehicles are not sent back to the factory, or inspected by the manufacturer. Instead, certified vehicles are inspected by the dealer, and the dealer pays the manufacturer to certify the vehicle.
The Car Buyer’s Bill of Rights protects consumers from dealers' indiscriminate use of the term “Certified.” If a dealer uses the term “Certified,” or similar terms, it must provide you with a completed inspection report before you buy the vehicle. In addition, a “Certified” Vehicle:
- Cannot be Salvage, True Mileage Unknown (TMU), a Lemon Law Buyback, Flood, Junk, Nonrepairable, or similar;
- Cannot be Accident, Fire, or Flood-Damaged;
- Cannot be Frame Damaged;
- Cannot be sold “As-Is” - a Certified Vehicle Must Include a No-Charge Warranty