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Used Car Sales

When buying a used car, you should always shop around and take time in choosing your car. You should take the vehicle for a test drive, allowing the vehicle to reach a normal operating temperature. Many problems are not apparent in a short trip around the block. You should also have your own mechanic check the vehicle. Under the law, each used vehicle must have a form on the window that indicates warranty information. If the vehicle is sold AS-IS, you have no warranty. You may wish to negotiate for, or purchase, a warranty if none is offered by the dealer.

If you are in the market for a late model, low mileage vehicle, it is a good idea to ask the dealer for identifying information on the vehicle. You may wish to inquire with the dealer regarding the history of the vehicle. You may wish to check the vehicle's history through a publicly advertised service such as CarFax. Late model, low mileage vehicles which have been imported from of out of the state are the type of vehicles which are subject to odometer tampering. You may obtain a title history on your own from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for a small fee. To obtain this information, write or call the Department of Transportation at Transportation & Safety Building, Harrisburg, PA 17120. The phone number when calling from within Pennsylvania is: 1-800-932-4600; the phone number if calling from outside of Pennsylvania is 717-412-5300.

When you purchase a vehicle, you have a right to receive a fully completed copy of the written contract or agreement of sale, the installment sales contract and all financing papers, an odometer statement and the warranty, if any. Make sure all documents are fully completed and that all verbal promises are included in the written documents of sale. Be sure to read all of the documents carefully and understand them before you sign them. You do not have a three-day right to return a car (new or used).

The following defects must be disclosed by a dealer if the dealer knows or should know of their existence: a frame which is bent or cracked, or a transmission or differential which is damaged so as to require replacement. In addition, the dealer must disclose the fact that the vehicle has been flood damaged or that the vehicle is unable to pass state inspection.  8/11

If you need to consult with an attorney, please contact the Erie County Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service.