In the Matter of General Motors LLC, File Number 152-3101 #00065

Submission Number:
T. Michael Flinn
Initiative Name:
In the Matter of General Motors LLC, File Number 152-3101
I am concerned that the FTC regulation regarding sale of cars with open safety recalls will create a loophole that is exploitive of the typical consumer buying used cars. I have been a consumer attorney for 30 years. I sue car dealers for a living. Car dealers are the most creative deceivers I know. They give with one hand and take away with the other. No dealer should be allowed to sweep away liability for telling lies or half truths by disclosing it in the fine print of a contract or document. I recently litigated a case in the Georgia Supreme Court Raysoni v. Payless which demonstrates this battle. "Certified" Used Cars must = All Safety Recalls are Done I am writing because I am gratified to know that the FTC has started to crack down on dealers who sell unsafe recalled used cars as "certified." However, my understanding is that you are planning let dealers settle these cases by agreeing to "clearly disclose the existence of the recalls in close proximity to the inspection claims." That is appalling. It is inherently deceptive for an auto dealer to represent that its vehicles have passed a rigorous inspection, as dealers often do, without ensuring that the safety recall repairs have been performed. For the FTC to put a stamp of approval on that practice would be disastrous. I see 125 point inspections checked off but it is clear that it was not really done when another mechanic actually inspects the car. I see this lists checked off that a car does not have wreck history when it does. I see dealers have consumers sign forms disclosing a car is a manufacturer buyback explaining the form is a necessary form for financing without disclosing its true meaning. Then the dealer does not give the consumer the form so the consumer never really understand the "disclosure". No amount or type of disclosure is adequate, when it contradicts the core message: this vehicle has been checked out and passed a detailed inspection. It's not just an OK car, it's a cut above. "Certified" is a form of warranty, that creates a reasonable expectation of superior quality that is inconsistent with having any major defect or nonconformity -- especially a safety defect. Bottom line, allowing sales of unsafe vehicles with "disclosure" would put many vulnerable low-income car buyers at risk, due to lack of easy access to the internet / computers and a lack of English language proficiency. We know from cognitive research that disclosures are ineffective, particularly where they directly contradict the overall thrust of the sales message. We can NOT depend on disclosures to protect consumers when it comes to safety recalls. See, for example: