Five things to know before you buy a used car

CLEVELAND - The Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland is warning Northeast Ohio residents about the dangers of used car purchases.

“When you buy a used car, you really have to do your homework,” said Sue McConnell, senior vice president at the Better Business Bureau of Greater Cleveland or BBB.

McConnell said the second-highest complaint into the local BBB last year had to do with used car purchases. This year, it’s keeping pace. The office still receives daily complaints about the issue.

Below are five tips that McConnell has for used car buyers before they buy:

  1. Test drive the car, and test the various buttons and options on the car
  2. Work with a trustworthy car dealer or owner
  3. Have a mechanic inspect the car for any problems
  4. Read contracts carefully and understand any fees involved
  5. If paying for a car online, use a reputable service like PayPal. Beware of sellers who ask for money via Western Union or Moneygram. EBay does not accept those forms of payment.

Cleveland resident Denise Pollard said she wished she had been more thorough when she bought her used car.

“I paid out a lot of money,” said Pollard who purchased a 2003 Volkswagen Golf from a dealer. “I couldn’t trade it in at the time because of the negative equity so I was just stuck.”

Pollard’s Volkswagen had a faulty electric system, which she found out after she purchased the car.

“I think I would do my homework more, more research on it,” she said.

Next time, she said she’d get a mechanic involved, and she would start looking for a car early.

“I was definitely in the market because I needed a car,” Pollard added. “I think it would have been different wanting a car.”

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