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Buying a Used Car: If You Have Problems

Buying a Used Car: If You Have Problems

If you have a problem that you think is covered by a warranty or service contract, follow the instructions to get service. If a dispute arises, there are several steps you can take:
 

  • Try to work it out with the dealer. Talk with the salesperson or, if necessary, the owner of the dealership. Many problems can be resolved at this level. However, if you believe you're entitled to service, but the dealer disagrees, you can take other steps.
  • If your warranty is backed by a car manufacturer, contact the local representative of the manufacturer. The local or zone representative is authorized to adjust and decide about warranty service and repairs to satisfy customers. Some manufacturers are also willing to repair certain problems in specific models for free, even if the manufacturer's warranty does not cover the problem. Ask the manufacturer's zone representative or the service department of a franchised dealership that sells your car model whether there is such a policy.
  • Contact your local Better Business Bureau, state attorney general or state Department of Motor Vehicles. You also might consider using a dispute-resolution organization to arbitrate your disagreement if you and the dealer are willing. Under the terms of many warranties, this may be a required first step before you can sue the dealer or manufacturer. Check your warranty to see if this is the case. If you bought your car from a franchised dealer, you may be able to seek mediation through the Automotive Consumer Action Program (AUTOCAP), a dispute-resolution program coordinated nationally by the National Automobile Dealers Association and sponsored through state and local dealer associations in many cities. Check with the dealer association in your area to see if they operate a mediation program.
  • If none of these steps is successful, small-claims court is an option. Here, you can resolve disputes involving small amounts of money, often without an attorney. The clerk of your local small-claims court can tell you how to file a suit and what the dollar limit is in your state.
  • The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act may also be helpful. Under this federal law, you can sue based on breach of express warranties, implied warranties or a service contract. If successful, consumers can recover reasonable attorneys' fees and other court costs. A lawyer can advise you if this law applies.

Buying a Used Car: Before You Buy
Buying a Used Car: Dealer Sales
Buying a Used Car: Private Sales
Buying a Used Car: Payment Options
Buying a Used Car: Warranties and Service Contracts 
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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