In 2006, the California legislature became concerned that there was a growing practice among unscrupulous car dealerships of referring to all of their used cars as “certified” without employing any special procedures to ensure that such cars were actually in sound mechanical condition. As a result, the legislature enacted California Vehicle Code Section 11713.18, which imposes mandatory requirements on California car dealers for all vehicles that they describe as “certified.”
The complete statutory text is set forth below.
|Limitations on use of “certified” or similar descriptive term in advertising used motor vehicles for sale
(a) It is a violation of this code for the holder of any dealer’s license issued under this article to advertise for sale or sell a used vehicle as “certified” or use any similar descriptive term in the advertisement or the sale of a used vehicle that implies the vehicle has been certified to meet the terms of a used vehicle certification program if any of the following apply:
(1) The dealer knows or should have known that the odometer on the vehicle does not indicate actual mileage, has been rolled back or otherwise altered to show fewer miles, or replaced with an odometer showing fewer miles than actually driven.
(2) The dealer knows or should have known that the vehicle was reacquired by the vehicle’s manufacturer or a dealer pursuant to state or federal warranty laws.
(3) The title to the vehicle has been inscribed with the notation “Lemon Law Buyback,” “manufacturer repurchase,” “salvage,” “junk,” “nonrepairable,” “flood,” or similar title designation required by this state or another state.
(4) The vehicle has sustained damage in an impact, fire, or flood, that after repair prior to sale substantially impairs the use or safety of the vehicle.
(5) The dealer knows or should have known that the vehicle has sustained frame damage.
(6) Prior to sale, the dealer fails to provide the buyer with a completed inspection report indicating all the components inspected.
(7) The dealer disclaims any warranties of merchantability on the vehicle.
(8) The vehicle is sold “AS IS.”
(9) The term “certified” or any similar descriptive term is used in any manner that is untrue or misleading or that would cause any advertisement to be in violation of subdivision (a) of Section 11713 of this code or Section 17200 or 17500 of the Business and Professions Code.
(b) A violation of this section is actionable under the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (Title 1.5 (commencing with Section 1750) of Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code), the Unfair Competition Law (Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 17200) of Part 2 of Division 7 of the Business and Professions Code), Section 17500 of the Business and Professions Code, or any other applicable state or federal law. The rights and remedies provided by this section are cumulative and shall not be construed as restricting any right or remedy that is otherwise available.
(c) This section does not abrogate or limit any disclosure obligation imposed by any other law.
(d) This section does not apply to the advertisement or sale of a used motorcycle or a used off-highway motor vehicle subject to identification under Section 38010.