Used Automobile Buying Tips Article


Buying a Used Car - Private Sales

Private Sales

An alternative to buying from a dealer is buying from an individual. You may see ads in newspapers, on bulletin boards, or on a car. Buying a car from a private party is very different from buying a car from a dealer.

  • Private sellers generally are not covered by the Used Car Rule and don't have to use the Buyers Guide. However, you can use the Guide's list of an auto's major systems as a shopping tool. You also can ask the seller if you can have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic.
  • Private sales usually are not covered by the "implied warranties" of state law. That means a private sale probably will be on an "as is" basis, unless your purchase agreement with the seller specifically states otherwise. If you have a written contract, the seller must live up to the promises stated in the contract. A manufacturer's warranty or a separately purchased service contract also may cover the car. However, warranties and service contracts may not be transferable, and other limits or costs may apply. Before you buy the car, ask to review its warranty or service contract.
  • Many states do not require individuals to ensure that their vehicles will pass state inspection or carry a minimum warranty before they offer them for sale. Ask your state Attorney General's office or local consumer protection agency about the requirements in your state.

Before You Buy A Used Car

Whether you buy a used car from a dealer, a co-worker, or a neighbor, follow these tips to learn as much as you can about the car:
  • Examine the car you using an inspection checklist. You can find a checklist in many of the magazine articles, books and Internet sites that deal with buying a used car.
  • Test-drive the car under varied road conditions - on hills, highways, and in stop-and-go traffic.
  • Ask for the car's maintenance record. If the owner doesn't have copies, contact the dealership or repair shop where most of the work was done. They may share their files with you.
  • Talk to the previous owner, especially if the present owner is unfamiliar with the car's history.
  • Have the car inspected by a mechanic you hire.

If You Have Problems

If you have a problem that you think is covered by a warranty or service contract, follow the instructions to get service. If a dispute arises, there are several steps you can take:

  • Try to work it out with the dealer. Talk with the salesperson or, if necessary, the owner of the dealership. Many problems can be resolved at this level. However, if you believe you're entitled to service, but the dealer disagrees, you can take other steps.
  • If a car manufacturer backs your warranty, contact the local representative of the manufacturer. The local or zone representative is authorized to adjust and decide about warranty service and repairs to satisfy customers. Some manufacturers also are willing to repair certain problems in specific models for free, even if the manufacturer's warranty does not cover the problem. Ask the manufacturer's zone representative or the service department of a franchised dealership that sells your car model whether there is such a policy.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau, state Attorney General, or the Department of Motor Vehicles. You also might consider using a dispute resolution organization to arbitrate your disagreement if you and the dealer are willing. Under the terms of many warranties, this may be a required first step before you can sue the dealer or manufacturer. Check your warranty to see if this is the case. If you bought your car from a franchised dealer, you may be able to seek mediation through the Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP), a dispute resolution program coordinated nationally by the National Automobile Dealers Association and sponsored through state and local dealer associations in many cities. Check with the dealer association in your area to see if they operate a mediation program.
  • If none of these steps is successful, small claims court is an option. Here, you can resolve disputes involving small amounts of money, often without an attorney. The clerk of your local small claims court can tell you how to file a suit and what the dollar limit is in your state.
  • The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act also may be helpful. Under this federal law, you can sue based on breach of express warranties, implied warranties, or a service contract. If successful, consumers can recover reasonable attorneys' fees and other court costs. A lawyer can advise you if this law applies.


Comments:

QUESTIONS

  • What are my rights if i put a car n my name as well as the insurance for a friend, but now he will not give the ins company his information for policy. A lien was also placed on title for my court fines so i cant transfer out of my name. I dont want ti be held responsible but he's avoiding my calls.
  • MY 20 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER HAS AN ABUSIVE BOYFRIEND HE TRICKED HER INTO SELLING HER CAR . THE CAR WAS GREATLY UNDERSOLD . CAN I GET THIS CAR BACK? IS IT TOO LATE?
  • I made a down payment on a used vehicle,I have not taken posession of the vehicle. Can I get my down payment back?
  • Does a used car dealer need to make sure a car will pass the VIN inspecton upon sellin a vehicle?
  • How long does a person have to return a used car purchased in AZ? I feel I got a bad deal and want to return the car and get my money back and go elsewhere to purchase a vehicle. What are my rights?
  • If your vehicle is repo'd, can they keep or charge you for your belongings that were in the vehicle?
  • bought car from private sell paid in full/cash,was given title(wrong)and i have bill of sale,seller refuses to give me correct title,and i actually put vehicle on (wrong)title in my name thinking it was the title to car i bought, what can i do?
  • IF BUYING A CAR FROM A PRIVATE PARTY HOW IS THE TAXES APPLIED SO FOR EXAMPLE IF THE PRIVATE PARTY IS ASKING 4250.00 FOR A 97 DODGE CARAVAN, IS THE TAXES ALREADY ADDED IN OR DO I HAVE TO PAY 4250.00 PLUS TAXES AND IF SO HOW DO I PAY THE TAXES DO I PAY IT TO THE PRIVATE PARTY OR TO THE MOTOR VEHICLE WHEN I GET MY PLATES??
  • My car was repossessed and I was only 7 days late from the due date which was on the 15th and I have a 10 day grace period, is this a legal repossession? I also had my purse in the car and was not even able to get that out what rights do I have to get my personal belongings. Please help.
  • I found a car on craigslist and went to see the vehicle. The seller and I agreed on a price. I told him I would be receiving my refund check in one week and asked if I could hold the car with a $300.00 deposit. Unfortunately my refund check became offset and I will not be receiving any money. Now the seller does not want to pay me back the deposit. Is that legal?

STORIES

LegalLEARN

YOUR FEEDBACK IS NEEDED

FIND LEGAL HELP

  • Please select your county of residence below.

    County:
     

OTHER LEGAL RESOURCES

  • State Bar of Arizona
    www.azbar.org
  • Maricopa County Bar
    www.maricopabar.org
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    www.pimacountybar.org
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    800-799-7233
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
    866-553-0893
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program
    Link

ORGANIZATIONS

Documents

.pdf  Buyers Guide ReadSpeaker