The Certified Pre-Owned Myth | Insurance Bad Faith Attorney OKC

The Myth of “Certified Pre-Owned” Cars & Warranties

Posted November 10, 2016

If you are thinking of purchasing a pre-owned car, it is absolutely essential that you know what the “Certified Pre-Owned” (CPO) designation means first, as many people buy CPO cars only to find out that the cars have many problems, which consumers are shocked were not discovered during the CPO inspection.

Many have termed the CPO program as basically being a way for manufacturers to help sell more used cars for more money. While these cars are inspected, the label is, arguably misleading, as the dealership performs the inspection, but it’s unclear what, exactly, this entails.

The Advertisement

General Motors describes its “CPO benefits package” as including an “extended Powertrain Limited Warranty” for six years or 100,000 miles and the “exclusive CPO Scheduled Maintenance Program,” which includes two maintenance visits.

Noticeably, nothing in this advertisement comes with any “guarantee” or “warranty”; meaning you have no recourse when it comes to any oversights, including those that occur during the inspection process. If the technician misses anything during this process, there are no repercussions for them (and thus no incentive to ensure that the car is truly in good working condition).


If you read the relevant CPO guidelines for your car, you will typically find that the guidelines mention a warranty from the manufacturer. This makes it very important to take a close look at that warranty and whether/how it is legally enforceable. In other words, if something is not specifically covered by the original factory warranty, it isn’t covered at all, no matter how negligent the inspection process was.


Civil lawsuits have been brought against both dealerships and manufacturers for selling certified pre-owned cars with damage. Typically, these lawsuits tend to be successful when they are very specific (false) promises made by the dealership and/or manufacturer, such as the vehicle being represented as specifically never being involved in an accident.

How to Protect Yourself

There have been numerous reports from dealership salespeople who describe late model cars being traded in and pushed for sale as CPO cars without much of anything being done other than, perhaps, a car wash. As a result, the experts suggest treating a CPO car the same way that you would a used car: have it independently inspected (i.e. not by the dealership) and take it for a test drive. Do not rely on supposed “multi-point inspection” systems. Also, make sure you do not sign an arbitration clause indicating that you waive specific claims against the dealer.

Oklahoma City Car Dealer Fraud Attorneys

When you’re considering the purchase of a new or used car, it is crucial that you do the research first. By doing so, you will possibly avoid purchasing a car that could cost you thousands in repairs.

If you have purchased a car and are now experiencing difficulties that indicate fraudulent conduct was involved, schedule a free consultation with the attorneys at The Bennett Law Firm right away.