So you need a used car, and you think you're pretty savvy. You find a sharp vehicle, take it for a test drive, and you then get the dealer to take a few hundred dollars off the price.
If that's all you did, you could be setting yourself up for financial disaster, which happened to one young woman.
Dealer Reassured Her
Britney Love found a 2005 Ford pickup that was a great deal at less than $12,000.
Best, Britney says the salesman promised her he'd take care of any issues that popped up in the first few days, even though it was sold "as i," with no warranty.
"They told us if anything was wrong, bring it back, they'll take care of it," Britney said.
But just two days after buying it, she says, the engine started bucking the first time she ran it on the interstate.
"The whole engine was jolting the truck, it kind of felt like the transmission was slipping."
Diagnosis Was Much Worse
The diagnosis from two independent mechanics was even worse. "So they got in there and did some looking around, and it's got a bad engine in it." She says it needs a new engine, or at least $3,000 in engine repairs.
Not only that, she pulled the truck's CARFAX report and found it had been in a serious accident.
"That's when we found out all the severe damage," she said. She says the dealer never offered the CARFAX. WCPO contacted the dealer, who promised to give Britney a break on another used car, but said he could not give her a full refund.
So we presented Britney's case to Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine.
Dewine said unfortunately there's no legal ground for a refund with "As Is" used cars. He says he gets many complaints asking for the "Lemon Law for used cars." There is none.
"When you walk in and buy an as is used car, you bought it. That car is yours," Dewine explained. "And you drive it out, and in 5 minutes it blows up on you, you are out the money."
What All Car Buyers Should Know
There's also a lesson here for all used car buyers:
--Try to get some warranty, even a 1 week warranty.
--Check the CARFAX report for accidents before you buy, not after.
--Test drive it at highway speeds.
--Better yet, have a mechanic inspect it.
--And get any promises in writing, as Britney and her mom now know.
"You can no longer take peoples word, if you don't have it it writing, you don't know what they said," she said.
We are not naming the dealer, because he says he will swap out Britney's bad truck for another car at essentially the same price.
So for now we will give him the benefit of the doubt, in hope that he helps this young Clermont County woman who learned a very tough lesson about buying used cars.
The Bottom Line
Remember, every used car has a history. You need to know something about that history before you drive it off the lot.
Because finding out a few days later is often too late, especially if you buy it "as is."
"As is" means "as is," and there is no Lemon Law in the world to protect you.
As always, don't waste your money.
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