Many calls to a personal injury attorney's office are from used car buyers who have found that the vehicles they have purchased were lemons. Let me tell you about one of our clients who bought a used vehicle from a used car lot. It seemed like a great deal on a car that looked perfect and had low mileage. But looks can be deceiving! He later found a rental receipt behind one of the seats while cleaning. This receipt showed that his "great deal" was actually a rental vehicle.
And to make matters worse, the odometer had been set back 30,000 miles! Reversing a vehicle transaction is not for the faint of heart, nor is it easy. There are many ways that you can protect yourself as a consumer. You are considerably safer purchasing a used vehicle from a reputable dealer. Your chances at getting good customer service will be better when you buy from an established dealer, even if it costs a bit more. You increase your chance of buying a lemon, as the size of the seller decreases. This means that when you purchase from a private party, you have a very good chance of being taken.
You should request repair records for a used car, and consider buying a warranty. You must ask the dealer to put in writing, that the car was not used for daily rental, was not involved in any kind of major accidents, and was not a salvage titled car. If the dealer refuses, this may be a vehicle and dealer to avoid. A dealer should be sensitive to your worries regarding a used car purchase. Make sure that an outside mechanic looks over the car before you purchase it.
From both a financial and safety perspective, purchasing a vehicle from a private party is the most dangerous method of buying a car. Always get your vehicle checked out by a mechanic and a body shop. Make certain that you get records of all repairs. Never go alone to look and drive the vehicle.
It's good to have an additional voice of reason on your side, so take a friend! Make sure to run a check at www.carfax.com, to ensure the seller has proper title. Ask for a 30-day warranty from the owner. (They probably won't, but might if the vehicle has been up for sale for an extended period.) Visit a dealership you can trust, when purchasing a new vehicle.
State up front that you're just looking, and never buy the car that same day. Mull it over for a while. Salespersons rarely have a "one of a kind" vehicle. So, take this statement with a grain of salt. There's no cooling off period for cars; they are not appliances! Once you drive it off the lot, it belongs to you! It's important to understand the complexities of leasing a car.
Always get the salesperson to explain, in detail, everything about the vehicle and the lease. Ensure that all warranties are in effect if you buy a dealer loaner, dealer demo, or "slightly" used car, and take the same precautions as with other used vehicles. Following your instincts is important. Never feel pressured to buy a particular car, especially if the deal doesn't feel right. Step back and walk away. There's always another dealership, but only one of you.
You have the advantage! It is rewarding and simple to be an intelligent informed consumer. Drive your new car with calmness and comfort by following some simple rules.
Barry Edzant is an experienced California lemon law lawyer and knows the importance of doing some research before buying a used car. Barry has worked with many personal injury claims as a Los Angeles car accident attorney and understands the seriousness of the California lemon law.