THE HIDDEN COSTS AND RISKS OF BUYING FROM A PRIVATE SELLER

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The Hidden Costs and Risks of Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller

While the lower costs of buying a used car from a private seller can seem enticing, it comes with its own set of risks and costs you might not expect. Whereas with a dealership all you need to do is choose the car you want then let them handle the rest. When purchasing a used car from a private seller you must consider the full costs of that purchase instead of just the price tag they’re selling it for. The most significant of these costs and risks include:

  • Limited Legal Protections
  • Extensive Paperwork
  • Dealing with Strangers
  • Difficult Negotiations

Limited Legal Protections

One of the biggest concerns when purchasing a used car involves how long it will last after you purchase it. This single factor makes a huge impact into how much the car is worth. However, you cannot determine with any degree of accuracy how long a car will last without purchasing it and finding out for yourself.

This sole factor caused most states in the US to pass what they call “Lemon Laws.” These laws force a dealership into guaranteeing any used car purchased from a dealership runs in the condition it was sold as for a set amount of time or miles. In Arizona, the lemon laws require protection for up to 15 days or 500 miles, whichever comes first. This means if your used car has any defects or issues you were not made aware of at the time of purchase, the dealership or manufacturer must either fully repair the issue or buy back the vehicle.

You also do not receive the protection of disclosure laws when purchasing from a private seller. This means the person you purchase your vehicle from does not have to disclose any information about the car they do not wish to disclose. For instance, the title could have been marked as salvage in another state due to flooding or an accident. They would not need to disclose this information to you prior to you purchasing the vehicle. This could leave you with extensive repair bills for the new car you just purchased.

The lack of both of these protections makes it almost essential you hire a competent mechanic to inspect the vehicle before you purchase it. If your mechanic ends up finding an issue with the vehicle, you still have to pay the mechanic for that inspection then you’ll have to pay them again to inspect the next vehicle you find.

Extensive Paperwork

If you decide to purchase a vehicle from a private seller, you’ll be greeted by a mountain of paperwork before you can take that vehicle on the road. First, you must get the vehicle inspected by an authorized mechanic if the inspection has expired. If the inspection has not expired yet, it might still be worth getting an initial inspection to determine if there are any major issues with the vehicle.

Next, you must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to register the vehicle. Oftentimes this entails a long wait before you can even speak to someone to ensure you have all the correct paperwork completed. If you did not complete the paperwork ahead of time, you’ll have to go back again after successfully completing the paperwork.

After you get the vehicle registered, you now need to get it insured. While you need to get insurance for your vehicle whether you purchase it from a dealership or private seller, at a dealership you can activate your insurance the moment you drive it off the lot. This ensures you’re protected from the moment you purchase your vehicle.

So, the real costs of the paperwork involved for purchasing a car through a private seller revolve around your time. Your time is valuable and any good dealership understands that. This is why they ensure to help you immediately and ensure you find the perfect vehicle for you.

This sole factor caused most states in the US to pass what they call “Lemon Laws.” These laws force a dealership into guaranteeing any used car purchased from a dealership runs in the condition it was sold as for a set amount of time or miles. In Arizona, the lemon laws require protection for up to 15 days or 500 miles, whichever comes first. This means if your used car has any defects or issues you were not made aware of at the time of purchase, the dealership or manufacturer must either fully repair the issue or buy back the vehicle.

You also do not receive the protection of disclosure laws when purchasing from a private seller. This means the person you purchase your vehicle from does not have to disclose any information about the car they do not wish to disclose. For instance, the title could have been marked as salvage in another state due to flooding or an accident. They would not need to disclose this information to you prior to you purchasing the vehicle. This could leave you with extensive repair bills for the new car you just purchased.

The lack of both of these protections makes it almost essential you hire a competent mechanic to inspect the vehicle before you purchase it. If your mechanic ends up finding an issue with the vehicle, you still have to pay the mechanic for that inspection then you’ll have to pay them again to inspect the next vehicle you find.

Dealing with Strangers

When buying a used car from a private seller, you need to meet with a stranger. This carries a huge risk for both your safety and your money. While you are a fully grown adult, dealing with strangers can always become difficult at any time. You do not know this person’s situation and oftentimes people sell their cars when they are struggling to make ends meet. The last thing you want to do is meet with a desperate stranger at night after work.

To minimize this risk, whenever you meet with a private seller, make sure you bring a friend along with you and notify anyone you can regarding your whereabouts and when you expect to return. You should also always meet a public location with good lighting and heavy foot traffic. So, if something goes wrong, you can grab someone’s attention easily to de-escalate the situation. You could also meet outside of your local police station for extra security.

Difficult Negotiations

Purchasing a used car from a private seller always comes with fast-paced negotiations. They intentionally leave you with little time to think in the hopes you’ll agree to a deal that is not in your best interest. So, to avoid this happening, you must do extensive research into the value of the car you’re looking to purchase.

After you research the car you consider purchasing, make sure you come up with a maximum price you’re willing to pay for the car based on the condition. Having an absolute maximum price prevents you from overpaying past your budget due to a sneaky salesman. You do not know what this person does for a living, and they might just try to trick you into paying more than you’re comfortable with.

You should also come up with a checklist of what you can inspect on the car. Some things to consider would be any rust, dents, damage, and the engine. This helps you better understand the overall condition of the car. If someone is leary about you looking at any part of the car, consider it a warning the car has an issue in that area.

So, Do You Want the Protections that Come With Purchasing from a Dealership?

If you decide the protections of a dealership and the ease of a dealership are worth the additional costs, stop by Motor Market in Phoenix, Arizona for the best in customer service and competitive prices. Motor Market goes a step beyond the required lemon law with their free two year maintenance plan. This covers you from most maintenance expenses you would typically expect from a vehicle saving you even more. If you want more coverage, Motor Market offers extended warranties through several different companies so you can get the coverage you want.

We also offer complete transparency on all of their vehicles. You can view the CarFax report on any vehicle. This gives you all of the information you would need to ensure you’re purchasing a great vehicle that will last. It shows the vehicle title branding, any lemon law buybacks, odometer fraud, and any recalls on the vehicle. We also do our own inspection of every vehicle that enters our lot to ensure it runs smoothly and will satisfy your needs.

Stop on by to look at the used vehicles and talk to our trained staff about what you need so we can find the perfect vehicle for you today without any hassles.