Certified Pre-Owned Cars May Have Been in Accident!!!
Dec 7, 2002 (Updated Apr 20, 2004)
The Bottom Line Be diligent and do your homework! Take your time and check everything thoroughly because a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle can be a false sense of security.
When you purchase Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle, you are purchasing "peace of mind", right?
You could be WRONG!
Don't let the phrase: Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle, lull you into complacency and give you a false sense of security!
It is merely a marketing ploy.
I bought a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle, only to find out later that the car had been in an accident and had numerous repairs, including but not limited to: replacement of the driver's side door, new door skins on all doors and everything but the hood, trunk lid and top of car had been repainted. Not too mention that a collision guy suggested that the odometer showed evidence that it could have been tampered with. Also the rear fender skirt was missing and the quarter panels and rocker panels had been replaced and there were numerous shims placed through out the doors. Etc etc etc....
A possible scenario was that this car was hit on the driver's side door and then pushed into cars on the other side, causing damage to both sides of the car. But who knows? The fact remains is that I do not want this car!
But do you know that the car dealer, depending on your state, may not have to disclose this? In my state, from what I learned so far, they are only legally obligated to disclose that the car had been in an accident if the frame was bent or the engine blocked cracked. (and then the car would not have been certified anyway)
Would you buy a car that had been in an accident? Probably not.
But does certifying it give you any more peace of mind that you are buying a pre-owned vehicle that will not have problems? No.
Still, buyer beware!
Run CarFax, check the VIN numbers (on the dash and in the doors and trunk) and have your trusted mechanic look the car over. (and if the dealer gives you trouble about you wanting the car looked over by your mechanic, then walk out. There ARE other cars out there to buy.)
Do your homework!! And don't fall into a false sense of security when buying a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle.
Websites to explore BEFORE you step foot at a dealership:
(Note: We returned to the dealership, within a week of buying the car and discovering that it had been previously wrecked, and they offered to replace the car with a similar model. We are consulting with our attorney. Also notified our Consumer Affairs office, Ford Motor Company Customer Relations, the State Police - they actually look into these matters!, and I have a list of media contacts ready, just in case I feel the need to let them educate their viewers about my experience with this particular dealership and the false sense of security you could experience when purchasing a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle.)
UPDATE: Now the dealership is offering to take the car back entirely, and we do not have to exchange it...hmmm...I also found FOUR other people who got "wrecked and repaired" cars from this dealership.
UPDATE (4/2003): Dealer replaced the car!!! Got a 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium in its place!! Much better car - better stereo and trim, and the Sable has nicer lines than the Taurus. Even got the same color. Same price. Never in an accident.... pristine!! Even switcharoo, for the most part! I'm a happy camper!
PS: Make sure your insurance company covers OEM parts, and GET FULL TORT!!!