There is a directly proportional relationship between how far away a used car is from you and how much trouble you will have when you buy it. I think the trouble might even go exponential when you cross state lines. But I’m not talking math here - just car trouble.

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Nowadays it is not uncommon for people to find cars they want to buy that are far away. Like in other states. In the old days, we didn’t have this problem because most of our car shopping was done with local advertising in newspapers. No one ever sought out a car in another state because there really wasn’t a way to do that.

Now that there are many ways to do that - Craigslist, Ebay and so on - people think nothing of shopping for cars in faraway lands. And the farther away the car is, the greater the problems I hear about. And for some odd reason, many of these things that seem obvious in hindsight don’t occur to the buyers until it is too late.

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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 25 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Preston Tucker and His Battle to Build the Car of Tomorrow.

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