Today’s blog should provide you with the incentive to check for car recalls while shopping for a used vehicle. Last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) gave dealers greater leeway to advertise used vehicles as certified even if they were under recall. Certified pre-owned is a label that means used cars have been inspected, refurbished and certified by a manufacturer. Ford recently allowed its dealerships to sell used vehicles under recall, but are certain conditions used car dealers must meet to sell recalled vehicles with this label.
Dealerships cannot market these vehicles as “safe.” Secondly, consumers must sign buyer’s forms acknowledging they are aware vehicles are under recall. Finally, dealerships must notify consumers who have purchased recalled vehicles once replacement parts become available.
The FTC’s decision makes shopping for used cars more problematic for consumers. A consumer may be unaware the vehicle they want is under recall until it is time to sign the paperwork. Even then, some people may not understand the seriousness of the recall. Such information could be downplayed by car salespeople who are working to meet their quotas.
Up until two weeks ago, every major car manufacturer had instructed dealerships not to sell used vehicles under recall. According to a recent article in the New York Times, Ford has issued instructions to its dealerships that they may certify used vehicles under recall, so long as the FTC’s conditions are met. The article also claims Ford is requiring dealerships to note recalls in two separate places on buyers’ forms.
How Can You Check for Recalls While Used Car Shopping?
If you have access to a smartphone or computer, is not difficult to check for recalls while shopping for a used car. Before initiating the paperwork, see if you can pull the vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle you want to purchase. Run this number through www.safercar.gov to check if it’s under recall. You can do this in the parking lot of the dealership if you have a smartphone. If the vehicle has a recall listed, you can check the Carfax report to see if repairs were made.
Another option may be to pay a bit more for a new car, if that is possible. Under federal law, new cars cannot be sold with open recalls.