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

  • How can I get my car back from a person who helped me by putting it in their name and now will not give it back?
  • What about lemon laws in AZ for used cars? My rights.
  • I just bought a used car private dealer but the car was sold from the mechanics used car lot. Today is the 4th day of ownership and now the engine is going out. I belive the guys mechanic knew it was going out and just wanted me to bring it back to get it fixed there. Is there anything I can do?
  • what about personal thing left in an automobile, how dose one find out how to get them back?
  • when buying a used car from a private seller, do I have any recourse if not informed of major problems? Or lied to about known defects or damage.
  • When selling a car as a private party to another individual. Is the seller responsible for anything after sell is completed (in the case the buyer is trying to get money from me for a repair he claims is needed now) As the seller does my responsibility for the vehicle end once we competed title transfer?
  • I purchased a used car from a car dealership after 5 days and less than 500 miles the transmission goes out. The dealer is saying I need to pay for all parts. I was under the assumption that he pays For the car repair
  • Are verbal contracts a legal contract? Was buying a car from a friend, car title & registration left in friends name, insurance in my name, never late on a payment, friend sold car out from under me, I had put alot of money into the car. Is there anything I can do? The law officer that came when car was taken said I could file a civel law case, is this true?
  • I made a down payment on a used vehicle,I have not taken posession of the vehicle. Can I get my down payment back?
  • If I bought a car on 10/31/15 can I legally take it back? How many days do I have to take the car back to the dealer since they gave me 21 days to pay my down payment.

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