The Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyers Guide in every used car they offer for sale. This includes light-duty vans, light-duty trucks, demonstrators, and program cars.
Demonstrators are new cars that have not been owned, leased, or used as rentals, but have been driven by dealer staff.
Program cars are low-mileage, current-model-year vehicles returned from short-term leases or rentals.
Buyers Guides do not have to be posted on motorcycles and most recreational vehicles. Anyone who sells less than six cars a year doesn't have to post a Buyers Guide.
The Buyers Guide must tell you:
When you buy a used car from a dealer, get the original Buyers Guide that was posted in the vehicle, or a copy. The Guide must reflect any negotiated changes in warranty coverage. It also becomes part of your sales contract and overrides any contrary provisions.
For example, if the Buyers Guide says the used car comes with a warranty and the contract says the car is sold "as is", the dealer must give you the warranty described in the Guide.
When the dealer offers a used car "as is," the box next to the "As Is - No Warranty" disclosure on the Buyers Guide must be checked. If the box is checked but the dealer promises to repair the vehicle or cancel the sale if you're not satisfied, make sure the promise is written on the Buyers Guide.
Otherwise, you may have a hard time getting the dealer to make good on his word. Some states, including Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia, don't allow "as is" sales for many used vehicles.
Three states - Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Washington - require different disclosures than those on the Buyers Guide. If the dealer fails to provide proper state disclosures, the used car sale is not "as is." To find out what disclosures are required for "as is" sales in your state, contact your state Attorney General.
State laws hold dealers responsible if cars they sell don't meet reasonable quality standards. These obligations are called implied warranties - unspoken, unwritten promises from the seller to the buyer. However, dealers in most states can use the words "as is" or "with all faults" in a written notice to buyers to eliminate implied warranties. There is no specified time period for implied warranties.
The most common type of implied warranty is the warranty of merchantability: The seller promises that the product offered for sale will do what it's supposed to. That a used car will run is an example of a warranty of merchantability. This promise applies to the basic functions of a used car. It does not cover everything that could go wrong.
Breakdowns and other problems after the sale don't prove the seller breached the warranty of merchantability. A breach occurs only if the buyer can prove that a defect existed at the time of sale.
A problem that occurs after the used car sale may be the result of a defect that existed at the time of sale or not. As a result, a dealer's liability is judged case-by-case.
What You Should Know About Buying a New Car.
If you are considering buying a new car, be sure to read our special report. It could literally save you hundreds of dollars!
What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car.
There are a lot of pitfalls to look out for when you are buying a used car. This special report will help you avoid many of those pitfalls.
What You Should Know About Auto Insurance.
Do you start yawning when someone tries to talk to you about auto insurance? Our special report will let you know what you need to know, in plain English.
What You Should Know About an Auto Loan.
Thinking about getting an auto loan? Read our special report before you do. It could save you some headaches - as well as some money!
Driving Related Articles
What You Should Know About Buying a New Car - Part I What You Should Know About Buying a New Car - Part II
What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car - Part I What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car - Part II
What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car - Part III What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car - Part IV
What You Should Know About Buying a Used Car - Part V What You Should Know About Auto Insurance - Part I
What You Should Know About Auto Insurance - Part II What You Should Know About an Auto Loan - Part I
What You Should Know About an Auto Loan - Part II What You Should Know About an Auto Loan - Part III
What You Should Know About an Auto Loan - Part IV Know Your Insurance Accident Process