FTC Ruling Will Lead To Certified Used Cars With Unfixed Recalls

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Used cars are a risky purchase anywhere around the world, but programs that offered “certified pre-owned” automobiles had the potential to reduce the risks supported by the customer.
A recent decision made by the Federal Trade Commission in the USA could put vehicles that have been subjected to a safety recall, but have not been fixed, in the hands of consumers that buy a “certified vehicle.”

The ruling will allow dealers to sell those vehicles through their certified programs without being compelled to mention that the cars must be repaired through a recall.

According to the NY Times, the situation has appeared following a settlement between General Motors, the FTC, and two used-car chains. The only obligation faced by dealers of certified pre-owned vehicles is to post notices that their cars could be subject to recalls, and then inform customers where they can inquire about safety campaigns.

Without any surprise to anyone, this ruling comes against the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s policy, which asked dealers fix all of the recalled vehicles on their lots before selling them to customers. Unfortunately, the NHTSA does not have the authority to impose that measure, which would have meant significant costs for some dealers, but fair deals for customers.

Consumer groups across the U.S. are against the FTC’s ruling, which they describe as “reckless.” It goes without saying that selling a car that is part of an active recall, without having it fixed or at least informing the customer that it must be fixed as soon as possible could lead to more people getting killed in preventable incidents.

Some safety recalls, like the one that involves Takata’s airbag inflators, might result in dealers getting stuck with cars on their lots for extended periods, which is bad for business.

However, people dying in cars that were not recalled when they could have been being bad for everyone else. Fortunately, the NHTSA’s website lets anyone check if a car is part of an active recall just by using the VIN, and you can even discover if it has had any recalls fixed.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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