The biggest scams have always been from used car dealers. In the last twenty years there have been many laws and regulations put into place across the country to protect consumers from used car dealers. However, the best protection from used car dealers is to know the law, know your budget, and know the car.
Know the Law
Used car dealers count on people not being aware of the law. Every state now has lemon laws. If you buy a used car and discover that it has a lot of mechanical problems that were not disclosed by the used car dealer, you have a legal right to return the car for a full refund.
Different states have different laws. Some states require that you return the car within three days, and some states have a limitation of ten days from the date of purchase. You can easily check the laws for your state at web sites such as Find Law.com.
Know Your Budget
Used car dealers will try to pressure you into paying more than you can afford, especially when financing. If you cannot afford the car that they are selling you, then they have a good chance of repossessing the car, keeping your money, and getting even more money from the next buyer. More used car dealers handle their own financing these days, and that means that this scam is even easier to run.
Make up a budget for yourself and your car payment. Print it out and take it with you to used car dealers. Do not allow them to see the budget, but make sure that you are able to refer back to it so that you do not get pressured into buying a car that you cannot afford.
Know the Car
Used car dealers count on buyers not being knowledgeable about the used car that they want to buy. The best way to fight back on this account is to do your homework. This includes both your own research and a little help from your favorite mechanic.
First, make a list of the types of used cars that you would be willing to buy, and the years that you are willing to buy. Then, go online and find out what the retail value of each used car on your list. There are several web sites where you can do this.
This information will arm you with the knowledge of the fair market price of the car you are looking at. This information should also be printed and taken with you to the used car dealers. When you know the fair price of the car, you have a starting point for negotiations.
You should also make sure that you have your favorite mechanic on hand. This can be your actual mechanic or a friend or family member that knows more about cars than you do. You can either take them with you to the used car dealers or you can take the car to them during your test drive.
When you have someone look at the used cars, you will be better prepared to make a deal with the used car dealers. You will know exactly what is wrong with the used car, and you will know if you are getting a lemon. If there are repairs that need to be made but you still want to buy the car, you can use the repairs needed as negotiating bargaining chips.
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