How to Avoid Being Ripped Off When Purchasing a Vehicle
The California lemon law provides important protection to car buyers in case they purchase a new vehicle that turns out to be defective. While this law goes a long way towards helping to make sure a car investment doesn't turn out to be a terrible one due to unexpected problems, there are still many things that car shoppers need to do in order to protect themselves. Whether you're buying a new car or a used car, you need to be a smart shopper.
Tips for Buying a Used Car
Road and Track provided some important tips to car shoppers for buying used vehicles and not getting ripped off. These tips include:
- Have the car inspected. Before you purchase a used vehicle, you should have it looked at by a skilled mechanic who can help you determine if it has serious problems or is in good condition.
- Do an adequate test drive. Don't just go in a slow circle in a parking lot. Take the car all the way up to highway speed and make sure all of the accessories on the vehicle are tested and in working order as well.
- Don't buy without seeing the car. Even if you locate a vehicle in another state that seems tempting, you never know what the reality will be until you see the car in person. You cannot trust everyone who posts a car ad on the Internet to be trustworthy.
- Inspect the vehicle title. You need to make sure you take a look at the title before you agree on a deal. If there are liens on the title or if the title is a salvage title, these are both big problems that should prompt you to walk away from the purchase. You need to know before you agree to buy that these issues exist.
- Carefully read the purchase agreement. These agreements often contain fine print that limits your rights and protects car dealers. You also need to be aware that if any promises have been made to you that are not in writing in the agreement, it will be difficult to get those promises enforced.
- Know who you're purchasing the car from. Sometimes, dealers will try to pass themselves off as private sellers to make buyers think they're getting a deal from an individual. You have the right to know who you are doing business with.
- Don't buy if later repairs are promised. Sellers sometimes pledge they will solve issues with a car after it has been bought. The problem is, they may not follow through or the problem could turn out to be more serious than expected -- and it would be too late.
- Know what the warranty is, if any. If you purchase a used car as is, there is generally no warranty. If you buy a car with any warranty on it, you need to know what the terms are.
These are just a few key tips to try to avoid getting ripped off. If you do end up buying a brand new car and having problems, you should explore whether you have any legal options or remedies under the Lemon Law.