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FTC Used Car Buyer Guides

Copyright (c) 2008-2021

Charlie Butler bought a truck one morning and jauntily began driving it back home. He didn't even get out of town. The right front wheel came off and bounded down a steep hill. It was still gathering speed when it smashed through a privacy fence, then exploded through the home's patio window and finally came to rest in front of the television screen. By the time Charlie got there only the children were still screaming. "I'm sure the car dealer will pay for all the damage," he said. "They should have caught this problem before putting the truck up for sale."

As an old commercial used to say: "Sorry Charlie." That FTC Used Car Buyers Guide that you signed before receiving the vehicle said: AS IS. "Congress intended for the FTC Used Car Buyers Guide to protect the consumer, but with a little clever wording, it actually ended up protecting the dealers.

Many used car dealers only use the FTC sticker as a catch-all exculpatory clause: "No matter what happens, it ain't our fault!" AS IS means that even if all the wheels fall off before you get it off the lot, it is still your problem and not the dealer's. You should have received a copy of the guide. The back is pre-printed with the standard buyers guide for your (the customer) signature.

Customers naturally feel safer when they see something in writing on that sticker besides "AS IS" even if it is only an implied warranty. Because an AS IS sticker is so common as to be almost universal, some of the wiser car dealers have found that they can make more sales, and get fewer irate customers returning, by using the FTC Used Car Buyers Guide sticker to enumerate the warranties they can offer. The most popular IMPLIED WARRANTY FTC Used Car Buyers Guide doesn't even mention AS IS as an option: Salesmen have been known to proudly tap the window on their FTC Buyers Guide Implied Warranty style sticker and proudly proclaim: "We don't have an AS IS car on this lot. Our mechanic goes over each car we get and any cars that don't pass his inspection get wholesaled out to other auto dealers in this area."

That's a good sales tool, but are you really protected any better with an implied warranty sticker? In many cases, the answer is yes. Implied warranties will cover defects that were not obvious or not pointed out to you prior to the sale, like a wheel falling off.

Even if the car you want has a warranty, you do still need to study the sticker to see which systems are covered, how long coverage will last, and what percent of repair costs your dealer will pay. It would also be a wise to go over a row or two and see if those warranties are different for each vehicle.

When your dealer is willing to spell out the terms of a solid car warranty in writing, you can literally take it to the bank for a more reassuring loan.

One final note: "Almost new," DEMO, and LOW MILEAGE cars may be a bargain, but they are not new. If the vehicle is still legally new it must have a totally different set of stickers, including the Monroney sticker and/or the Addendum sticker like you see on new car lot vehicles. If you don't see these stickers, you can expect a large discount in price.


About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
Malcolm Uffelman offers FTC Used Car Buyers Guides through Estampe, Inc. Estampe, Inc offers a large collection of auto dealer and auto service center supplies.

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Last Distribution Date:
2008-06-12 11:00:00

Internal ID: #6108





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