Most of us are skeptical when buying a used car -- we want the CARFAX report and we don't always believe salesmen's assurances that a car on their lot is safe. But the "Certified Pre-Owned" distinction is meant to allay those fears -- after all, the CARFAX website itself calls them "the low-cost alternative to a new car, or as a low-risk option to a used car." But it turns out CPOs might not be as safe as you'd think.
A federal lawsuit alleges the Federal Trade Commission allowed dealers to market and advertise certified pre-owned vehicles as "safe," even when the same vehicles were subject to safety recalls due to dangerous defects. The suit covers cars, trucks, motorcycles, and motor homes, and claims the FTC did not require dealers to submit the vehicles to the recalls or fix the defects; they only had to disclose the vehicles "may" be subject to recalls, even when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had already required a safety recall. You can read the full lawsuit below.