Searching for a used car can be challenging, as anyone who has ever done that knows all too well.
There are numerous stories of consumers who have been disappointed in their experience buying a used car. The Better Business Bureau receives frequent complaints from consumers who found out too late that a used car was a lemon and the seller was a bad apple.
Here is some information that can make your search more fruitful in the right ways.
No Lemon Law protections
Remember that in Kansas the Lemon Law only applies to new cars.
When you purchase a used car, it is the seller’s prerogative whether to offer a three-day right to cancel. There is no automatic grace period when a used car is purchased.
Good dealers will offer one in a warranty but they are not obligated to do so. Basically, absent any such warranty or agreement, once you sign the papers for the purchase of the vehicle, that vehicle is yours.
This means there is particular pressure on you, the buyer, to take steps toward protecting yourself from bad deals at the very beginning of your search. After the deal is done, it is too late.
Do your homework
Dealers vs. individual sellers
The Federal Trade Commission requires dealers to post a Buyer’s Guide with every car for sale. It should inform you whether there is a warranty and how much repair cost the dealer will pay during the warranty period. It also should tell you of any major mechanical or electrical system problems.
Get any promises in writing. Oral assurance is worthless.
Sometimes a dealer will offer a service contract for extra payment.
Individual sellers do not have to show a Buyer’s Guide. The deal is considered “as is.”
Though the risk is there that the warranty-less vehicle could be problematic, the attraction of buying from an individual and cutting out any middleman is a strong one. Many times a more affordable deal results when you purchase directly from the owner.
Avoid any seller who asks that you pay through MoneyGram, Western Union or Green Dot cards, or who will not meet you face-to-face. Watch out for emotionally charged stories from sellers about hardships or problems they are facing.