Buying a used car can save you a great deal of money. However, unlike new cars, used cars sometimes have operational problems that may not be immediately apparent. Sellers of used cars sometimes try to hide these problems in order to make a sale or convince you to pay a higher price. For this reason, it is important to take caution when you shop for a used car. Below are some tips you can use to protect yourself from scams and other potential problems and be aware should any issues arise, you have consumer protection rights under applicable laws.
1. Watch out for Warranties
Many used car dealers will encourage you to purchase an extended warranty on the vehicle you buy. However, purchasing a warranty from a dealer often costs more than it is worth. Before you agree to an extended warranty, shop around and make sure that the dealer's price is fair.
2. Always Put it in Writing
If you plan to buy a used car, don't make any agreements unless you and the dealer have both signed applicable paperwork. Without an ironclad document backing up the arrangement, the dealer can change the terms at any time.
3. Ask for Identification
Some scammers may be attempting to sell cars that do not belong to them. To protect yourself, you should always ask to see identification when you purchase a used car from a private seller. Before you pay, make sure that the name on the seller's ID matches the name on the title.
4. Learn about the Vehicle
Before you buy a car, research its history. Websites like Auto Check or Carfax can provide you with information about a vehicle given its identification number. Valuable information may include the car's actual mileage, major accidents, the number of owners and whether or not the vehicle has a salvage title. Consumer protection law does not allow any changes to the vehicle's odometer as well.
5. Take it for a Test Drive
When determining how well a car runs, don't take the dealer's word for it. Ask to drive the car a reasonable distance before you agree to purchase it. While driving the vehicle, look for signs of potential issues like brake failure or poor maneuverability.
6. Seek Legal Advice
If you think you may have been the victim of a scam, seek advice from a consumer protection attorney. Certain consumer protection laws exist to prevent consumers from losing money as a result of a bad transaction. For example, if your seller violates a contract that you both sign, a consumer protection attorney can help you recover your losses. Consumer protection attorneys may also be able to help you if a seller refuses to honor a warranty, sells a car that doesn't belong to him or lies about a vehicle's condition.
There are laws that protect our consumer rights. It is important that we know our rights to avoid being taken advantage of. Get free answers to your consumer law questions from real attorneys