On average about once a day I get the phone call. Someone bought a used car and it just exploded. A day, a week, a month after purchase. What can they do? Oh, they bought it “as-is”.

Yes, this is the number one problem with used car purchases across the board. People do not know the full implications of buying a car “as is”. In most states, a car dealer can sell a vehicle “as is” to a buyer so long as the nature of the sale is disclosed to the buyer. This is usually done with a purchase agreement which states that the sale is “as is” and with a Buyer’s Guide which also notes that the car is sold with “No Warranties.”

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Despite the two (2) documents placing the buyer on notice of the “as is” status of the sale, buyers seem surprised to learn that they have no recourse against the seller when the car breaks down, dies, explodes, burns, grenades or otherwise fails to get itself from Point A to Point B at the behest of its owner.

“But the seller told me it was a good car!” “The salesman said they inspected the car and it checked out.” “My mechanic said the Check Engine light was reset by someone before we bought it.” The stories are endless and they all get us back to my point. Before you buy a car “as is,” you need to know what that means. And all of its implications. Are there ways to protect yourself? Of course there are.

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Which is the topic of this week’s podcast. The audio:

And the video:

The pic at the top was taken in the parking lot not far from a winged car meet in Alabama last fall. For a few days, they were everywhere.

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Steve Lehto has been practicing law for 24 years, almost exclusively in consumer protection and Michigan lemon law. He wrote The Lemon Law Bible and Chrysler’s Turbine Car: The Rise and Fall of Detroit’s Coolest Creation.

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