New program offers certified pre-owned cars with a warranty


We get a lot of calls from viewers who bought a used car, “as is,” only to have it break down shortly after. When dealers won’t fix it, drivers are out of luck.

Now a new certified pre-owned program that’s spreading across the country has made it to the Upstate. There’s only one local dealership in that program so far because it’s so stringent. So we looked into the benefit for consumers, and whether there is a cost involved.

“Our program bases a lot on statistics. We know that if you do 125 point inspection on a car, the odds of it breaking down go down to miniscule,” said William Carr with Amtrust Warrantech.

The warranty backers have teamed up with the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association to support the certification program.

In addition to that thorough inspection, each vehicle will also get a Carfax report, recall check and come with a warranty of at least 3 months/3,000 miles, or 10yr/100k powertrain.

“By giving the consumer a better product, in the long run we’ll sell more cars. So I think it’s a win win,” said Darla Booher, the owner of Deal Depot in Greer, Spartanburg and Duncan.

Her dealerships are the only active members right now. And as such, those lots will have to abide by a strict code of conduct.

“There is a very stringent standard that deals not just with the inspections but with the entire running of a car lot. Recently an upstate dealer had to exit the program because they couldn’t live up to the standards of the program,” said Carr.

There are about 80 dealerships across the country involved in this program, with about 5 new ones added each week. In fact one in Greenville is coming on board before the end of the summer.

Administrators say the program cost for inspections and the warranty are minimal. But of course it begged the question, is that passed along to consumers?

“No, there’s absolutely not additional cost to the consumer,” said Booher.

In fact, when it comes to the warranty, it’s illegal for a dealer to charge for that or it becomes a service contract.

One word of caution, as a consumer you want to make sure that there’s no bait and switch. If a car is advertised as certified, the dealers should not offer to take off the certification for a lower price. That’s illegal.

The NIADA Certified program performs quarterly inspections to make sure all dealers are continuously compliant.