Consumers Speak: Volkswagen’s Not-So-Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles

Here’s a depressing story from Melanie O. It seems that Volkswagen’s ‘Certified Pre-Owned’ program can mean, well, whatever a dealership wants it to mean. That’s a shame, too, because we just so happen to be fans of the company’s product.

Melanie writes:

Six months ago, I purchased a “Certified Pre-Owned” (CPO) car from a Southern California Volkswagen dealer, and it’s been a nightmare.
I was told that the car had undergone a 112-point inspection and that they knew of no previous accidents.
Silly me… I trusted the CPO program enough that I didn’t take the car to my mechanics before buying it.

Days after the purchase, the transmission and clutch gave out on me.
The car has been in and out of the local dealership for numerous repairs ever since, but I really started to get worried when I was told that a sunroof leak couldn’t be fixed under warranty, because it is due to faulty repairs following an accident.
I finally took the car to my regular mechanics, and within 30 seconds they were able to point out multiple signs of previous accidents and faulty repairs that should have been noticed during the inspection.

The dealership that sold me the car refuses to take it back for the purchase price, or even to complete all of the repairs that should have been done as part of the CPO certification process.
That’s really not a huge surprise. Car dealers have been ripping people off for decades.
What pisses me off, though, is that the Volkswagen corporation refuses to stand up for their guarantee.

Melanie gets a brush off from VW corporate, after the jump.

I’ve spoken with 2 customer service reps and a corporate regional manager for the company, who’ve all told me that VW leaves it up to the dealer to decide if a car qualifies as “Certified Pre-Owned.”
In the event that the dealer chooses not to do the “required” inspection or decides to lie about the findings, VW has no recourse and will not intervene on behalf of the customer.
So it seems the VW CPO inspection is only a suggestion.
The corporate office offered to cover all of the repairs, but when I took the car in for service, I was told that they’d only cover a “diagnosis of the sunroof problem.”

I’m shocked that this program was Intellichoice’s pick for best non-luxury certified pre-owned program.
At this point, I have a car that needs repair, a CPO guarantee that’s completely worthless, and a complete lack of trust in a brand I used to love.
My family and I have been loyal VW/Audi customers for years, and I’m sad to have to take my business elsewhere.