Can a used car be marketed as “safe” or “certified” even if it has defective air bags, a faulty ignition switch or other potentially lethal problems?
Yes, so long as the used car dealer discloses that the vehicle may be subject to a pending safety recall.
That stance, taken by the Federal Trade Commission, is at the heart of a recent legal settlement with General Motors and two used car dealers over deceptive advertising practices. But it is now being put to the test in a federal court in Washington, D.C., by auto safety activists.
The safety groups contended in legal papers filed Friday that the settlement places unaware car buyers, their passengers and others at “the risk of injury or death caused by the defective vehicles.” In essence, the concern is that buyers will have a false sense of security if a car is described as safe and won’t take care of the defect that prompted the recall.