At least twice a week I hear from someone who bought a bad car and is upset because, “The dealer inspected it and told me it was OK.” Turns out it wasn’t OK. Apparently, people need to know more about “inspections.”

When someone wise tells you to get a vehicle inspected, they are not telling you to trust the seller’s “inspection.” They are suggesting you have someone you know and/or trust to inspect it for you. The seller cannot be expected to give you an impartial opinion on the item he or she is trying to sell you. Why would that even make sense?

And no, a Certified Pre-Owned inspection is not something you can rely on either. I cannot count the times I have heard from people who bought CPO cars where “the seller missed something in their inspection!” Yes, it happens all the time and no, you cannot sue them for what they “missed.” That CPO inspection is not a warranty. The limited warranty you got with the CPO car is a warranty and it does not encompass all of the things which the dealer may or may not have actually inspected prior to slapping the CPO designation on the car before you bought it.

Here it is in audio form:

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And the video:

The top shot is just the nicest looking service station I’ve driven by in recent memory (but unrelated to this story).

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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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