A Phone Call From A Used Car Dealer

August 22, 2011
By: Robert Silverman

As you can expect, Monday mornings are quite busy for us.  Often times, we are going through 25-40 voice mails from consumers who have left messages on the 1-800 LEMON LAW hotline over the weekend.  This week, we received our first-ever call from a used car dealer.  The dealer, based in Delaware, was complaining that folks threaten him with the Lemon Law, even though he knows that his cars are too old to fall under the Lemon Law.  He asked us if we could include information in our ads about what qualifies under the Lemon Law and what does not.

Obviously due to time and money constraints, that request is completely unfeasible.  However, our website does provide an extensive overview on what qualifies under each state’s Lemon Law.  And we always encourage consumers to call us if they have a question about their individual situation.

After listening to this message, we have to wonder why all of these folks threaten him with the  Lemon Law and wonder if it’s regarding the quality of the cars he sells.  Thus, in the spirit of educating consumers, we think it is imperative to remind used car buyers to raise a red flag if:

**A used car dealer refuses to provide a carfax on the vehicle.

**The dealer cannot provide an affirmative answer on whether the car has an accident history. (You MUST ask if the car has been in accident.  Unless the car has a salvage title or frame damage, a dealer does not need to disclose this information unless asked.)

**The dealer refuses to allow you have an outside mechanic check out the car prior to purchase.  This may cost a little bit of money but it will save you a lot of money and aggravation “down the road.”

**You purchase a car without a warranty.  Ideally, we would like you to buy a car with a manufacturers warranty so it can be fixed by an authorized dealership if something goes wrong.  However, even if you choose to buy the car at your local mom and pop shop, it is imperative that you purchase a warranty and research both the warranty company and the components covered under the policy.  Sometimes, these dealers sell warranties that are not worth the paper they are written on.  It’s a case of buyer beware.

Of course, when buying a used car, we always encourage you to bring along  our lemon dodger worksheet.  This worksheet provides the questions you need to ask to make sure you are getting the msot car for your money.

And if  your used car is under a manufacturers warranty or has been in the shop an extended period of time, give us a call at 1-800 LEMON LAW (1-800-536-6652).   You could be looking at significant compensation under the Federal Magnuson Moss Warranty Act.

Happy buying and safe driving!

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2 Responses to “A Phone Call From A Used Car Dealer”

  1. #1 Chad says:

    Why would you suggest that a dealer’s unwillingness to provide a carfax would imply dishonesty? Carfax and Autocheck both disclose that they can only report issues that were reported to them. Matters not reported to insurance companies/law enforcement authorities would not appear on any carfax report. My vehicle was damaged in an accident and I payed out of pocket for repairs, rather than risk insurance premium increases. Guess what, not gonna be on Carfax.

    Why would a used car dealer have issues with frequent complaints in regards to lemon laws? Uneducated consumers. You do realize they exist right? If I sell a $2,000 beater, am I really expected to provide a history report? Is the customer not responsible for realizing that a dented rust bucket will NOT QUALIFY for RELIABLE daily transportation?

    Why would a used car dealer have vehicles of such cheap quality…. B/c there is a demand for it. Especially in this economy. Not all consumers are looking to finance, or are in a financial position to finance a vehicle. Some cannot afford monthly payments, and as is the most common case for the dealership I represent, our consumers TRADE IN vehicles of questionable quality.

    How about a more informed opinion rather than an incendiary one? Is being fair and resonable too much to ask? I don’t own or manage a used car dealership, but I do work for one. Expectations are completely ridiculous in this field.

    • #2 LemonLaw says:

      Chad: We don’t view a dealer’s unwillingness to provide a carfax as being dishonest. We just suggest that a consumer ask for one and if one cannot be provided, that may raise a red flag. We are well aware that there are many accidents which do not pop up on carfax and no one should view car fax as an end all,be all. The fact of the matter is that your e-mail brings up some valid points which consumers need to know. We get so many calls from folks with older cars who have problems within one month of ownership and they cannot understand why. We always say the same thing–in the case of used cars, its buyer beware and you need to understand your responsibilities as a consumer. That being said, we feel it is important that folks protect themselves when venturing into any car dealership, regardless of their financial situation. Thus, we created the lemon dodger worksheet. Thank you for your post.

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