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Problems With Buying a Lemon Car? Here’s What to Do

The process of buying a used car can be a tricky one, especially if you’re a person that doesn’t know a whole lot about cars in the first place. Sellers have a habit of making run-down cars seem like great deals, and that’s why so many people find themselves with beaters.

The term for a car that seems great but turns out to be terrible is a “lemon.” When someone says they bought a lemon, it means they fell prey to the tricks of a dishonest car seller. 

Luckily, there are some ways to get around buying a lemon car in the first place, as well as some legal action you can take if you’ve been misled. We’re going to explore those ideas in this article, giving you a fighting chance at getting your money’s worth. 

How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Car

We’ll start out by throwing you a few tips on how to avoid getting ripped off in the first place. It can be tricky if you don’t know what to look out for, but our general tips will surely slim the chances that you’ll be taken advantage of.

Let’s get started:

1. Vet Your Place of Purchase

The first thing to do when you’re starting your search for a new car is to make sure that you’re working with a reputable seller. 

It’s easiest to research your seller when you go through a car dealership. A lot of dealerships will have a wide selection of used cars to choose from, and those dealers are likely to have a lot of online reviews for you to browse through. 

Additionally, you can ask around about local dealerships to see what their reputation is through word of mouth. Take into consideration the size of the dealership and the number of reviews on the site. 

If a dealership is pretty large and longstanding, for example, it might not matter if there are one or two bad reviews on their site. People who have negative things to say, after all, are the ones who are most likely to leave reviews. 

That said, if you see a substantial pattern of negative reviews, it might be wise to shop somewhere else. 

2. Independent Sellers

When buying a car from an individual, there are several things you should take into consideration. 

Listings on sites like Craigslist are created to be attractive and sell the vehicle in the best way possible. This means that the numbers and statistics about a particular car could be skewed a little to make the vehicle seem nicer. There might even be things left out of the posting on purpose. 

You can typically notice when something seems too good to be true. If your dream vehicle is listed at a few thousand dollars under the typical price, that’s cause for concern. You may get lucky and find someone who just wants to get rid of the car for personal reasons, but it’s typically the case that those vehicles need substantial repairs. 

3. Bring the Car to a Trusted Mechanic

In any case, you should ask the seller if you can bring the vehicle to a mechanic to be looked at before you make the purchase. 

This is even the case when you go to a used car dealership. It’s especially the case when you’re buying the vehicle from an individual. If you find that there are a few things wrong with the car that weren’t listed on the individual’s posting, that doesn’t mean they’re lying. 

This person could be like you and not understand everything about cars, and that’s just fine. Just make sure that the car is in close to the condition that you thought it was and see if the price should be adjusted from there. 

Getting an inspection is the best way for you to ward off the chance of buying a lemon car, though. It’s smart to bring the vehicle to a mechanic of your choice, and not one offered by the seller. 

Laws to Protect You from Lemons

A lot of people have been ripped off by dishonest sellers. Additionally, some cars just have manufactured issues that come up over time. In response to this reality, many states have issued a form of lemon law that protects buyers from issues. 

Here are a few things to consider when you’re thinking about taking legal action.

1. Lemon Law Only Applies Under Warranty

Keep in mind that your vehicle has to be under some kind of warranty for lemon laws to apply. Depending on your state, there may be some way to work in a warranty if you’re buying from an individual seller, but it’s unlikely. 

Car dealerships, on the other hand, will certainly be able to offer a warranty of some kind. If you buy from a dealership and they’re skeptical about offering a warranty, you should consider buying from a different location. 

If they refuse a warranty, odds are that they suspect something could go wrong with the vehicle. 

2. The Defects Have to be Substantial

Another key element of lemon law is that the issue with the vehicle has to come from the manufacturing line and impede the basic use of your car.

In other words, issues that come from poor maintenance or negligent driving can’t be used to justify your claim for compensation. Old cars are prone to break down, and there are a million ways for issues to arise. 

On the other hand, you can’t be held responsible if the manufacturer makes a crucial mistake in installing your brake line. If the issue occurs as a result of a manufacturer error and the car is still under warranty, you’ll be granted some relief. 

The fact that poor maintenance can’t be used, though, is just another reason that you should always take a potential vehicle to a mechanic to have it inspected before you buy. 

Want to Learn More?

The difficulties that come with buying a lemon car extend far beyond frustration. You could be put in danger, and your wallet could suffer a significant blow. We’re here to help. 

Explore our site for more key legal advice for you to move forward with.