Watch Out For Certified Used Cars With Safety Defects

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NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – “Certified” used cars are supposed to provide shoppers reassurance that the vehicles been fully inspected and any defects fixed. But under a new Federal Trade Commission ruling, a dealer can now advertise used cars as certified — even if it hasn’t fixed a safety problem under a recall notice.

This could include such dangerous vehicles such as those with exploding Takata airbags that can cause fatal injuries.

I have often recommended certified used cars as a good option because of their supposedly careful inspections and additional warranties, often backed by manufacturers. But this ruling seems to signal a new fend-for-yourself era for used-car buyers.

The FTC decision came in the form of a settlement with General Motors (GM) and two used-car chains. It states that they can advertise cars as certified without fixing safety defects, if they post notices that the cars could be subject to recall and inform consumers where they can check out such recalls.

The ruling runs counter to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s policy, which has called for used cars to have safety recalls fixed before they’re sold. But the safety agency doesn’t have the authority to compel such fixes.

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