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Consumers have rights to information when buying used cars

On Behalf of | May 10, 2018 | Consumer Protection

Used cars often present good value for consumers in Pennsylvania, but people should exercise due diligence when considering the purchase of a used vehicle. A trustworthy private seller or dealership will willingly share information about a vehicle’s past. People even have the right to contact a former owner when investigating a used car.

Ideally, a seller will offer a free vehicle history report to interested buyers. These are generated from services like CarFax and AutoCheck. These companies gather information from insurance claims and police reports to identify histories of accidents or damage caused by other issues like a flood. Buyers should avoid vehicles with water damage because of the likelihood of future electrical problems. Individuals may also purchase these reports when they are unavailable from a seller. Prices for the reports start at about $30.

A potential buyer needs to ask to see the title for the vehicle. This important step could inform a person about damage history. Using the vehicle identification number, consumers can obtain a free report issued by the National Insurance Crime Bureau or National Motor Vehicle Title Information System. If an investigation reveals problems with a vehicle, a consumer could use the information to walk away or bargain for a lower price.

When a consumer makes a purchase based on deception from the seller, the person could suffer financial damages. Consumer protection law, often known as lemon laws in the context of car sales, might enable a person to recover damages. An attorney familiar with litigating violations of consumer rights may investigate the issue and potentially identify evidence of illegal actions on the part of the seller. After filing a lawsuit, an attorney may be able to pursue a settlement through direct negotiations with the responsible party or by presenting the case to a jury.

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