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Buying a Used Car: Private Sales

Buying a Used Car: Private Sales

An alternative to buying from a dealer is buying from an individual. You may see ads in newspapers, on bulletin boards or on a car. Buying a car from a private party is very different from buying a car from a dealer.

  • Private sellers are generally not covered by the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Used Car Rule  and don't have to use the Buyer’s Guide (The FTC requires dealers to post a Buyer’s Guide in every used car they offer for sale). However, you can use the Guide's list of an auto's major systems as a shopping tool. You can also ask the seller if you can have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic.
  • Private sales usually are not covered by the "implied warranties" of state law. That means a private sale probably will be on an "as-is" basis, unless your purchase agreement with the seller specifically states otherwise. If you have a written contract, the seller must live up to the promises stated in the contract. The car may also be covered by a manufacturer's warranty or a separately purchased service contract. However, warranties and service contracts may not be transferable, and other limits or costs may apply. Before you buy the car, ask to review its warranty or service contract. Many states do not require individuals to ensure that their vehicles will pass state inspection or carry a minimum warranty before they offer them for sale. Ask your state attorney general's office or local consumer-protection agency about the requirements in your state.

Buying a Used Car: Before You Buy
Buying a Used Car: Dealer Sales
Buying a Used Car: Payment Options
Buying a Used Car: Warranties and Service Contracts
Buying a Used Car: If You Have Problems 
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Important Walmart Safety Disclaimer: Proper service and repair procedures are vital to the safe, reliable operation of all motor vehicles as well as the personal safety of those performing the repairs as well as those riding in the motor vehicles. Standard safety procedures and precautions (including use of safety goggles and proper tools and equipment) should be followed at all times to eliminate the possibility of personal injury or improper service which could damage the vehicle or compromise its safety. Although this material has been prepared with the intent to provide reliable information, no warranty (express or implied) is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither is any liability assumed for loss or damage resulting from reliance on this material.

Article Provided ByFederal Trade Commission