First time buying a used car? The California Department of Motor Vehicles has created a very nice guide in a report that lists what you need to know before you sign a contract with a car dealer. Here is a summary of the important points:
Research the Value
In an effort to avoid being a victim of used car fraud in California, research the market value of the vehicle before you commit to buying a used car. The Kelley Blue Book is one of the most valuable resources for a used car buyer. Double-check the sticker price against the Blue Book and compare prices from several dealers.
Comparison Shop for Interest Rates
If a car dealer is offering financing, compare interest rates with other lenders. A couple of point difference in the interest rate can save you a bundle over the life of the car loan.
No Cooling Off Period…Unless You Purchase One
Used cars sold by a dealer for less than $40,000 must come with the option to purchase a two day cooling off period (a Contract Cancellation Option Agreement). This option only applies to sales of used cars for less than $40,000. Buying a new car? Doesn’t apply. Buying from a private party? Doesn’t apply. Buying a motorcycle? Doesn’t apply.
For an overview of the law, take a look at this car buyer’s rights brochure from the CA DMV website or contact an experienced California lemon law attorney.
Read Everything Three Times
Purchase agreements can be pretty dry reading, but you owe it to yourself to understand fully what you are committing to before signing. Walk away from the sale if you can’t understand the contract after reading it three times. The same advice holds for warranties and service contracts.
Buying a car is a big step and is often the second biggest purchase that you will make other than buying a home. If you have questions or concerns about your rights as a car buyer, please call the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver at (855) 341-2611 to speak with a skilled attorney about California lemon law.