Know what to look for when buying, selling a car
JUNE 24, 2010
Secretary of State Web site has helpful tips
Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land today encouraged
vehicle buyers and sellers to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and
to remember key tips when making a deal.
"Because there is no 'buyer's remorse' period when purchasing a vehicle, you
should know what to look for and what state law requires before making a final
decision," said Land. "I urge you to visit the Secretary of State Web site for
helpful information before completing your transaction."
The Secretary of State's Office licenses and regulates auto dealers and
repair shops. It also informs consumers of their rights and investigates related
complaints. Its Web site at www.Michigan.gov/sos has several
brochures that offer tips for buying or leasing vehicles, as well as doing
business with an established dealer or a private individual.
Before buying a used vehicle Land recommends:
- Test driving it and having it inspected by an independent licensed
- Making sure that it has a title. A vehicle cannot be registered without
one. Don't agree to the sale if the seller cannot produce a title or there
are discrepancies. Also be certain that the owner named on the front of the
title is the same person signing it as seller. All owners listed on the
front of the title must sign off as the sellers to transfer the title.
- Matching the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the title with the
number on the dashboard.
- Checking the odometer's mileage accuracy. Under state and federal law,
the mileage for most vehicles must be provided with the title assignment
when ownership transfers. Vehicles that are 10 or more years old are exempt.
When doing business with an auto dealer, it's wise to ask questions and read
all documents before signing. It's also important to note that there is no
"cooling off" or "buyer's remorse" period. Some consumers mistakenly believe
they can return a vehicle within a certain number of days after a contract is
signed and the vehicle has been delivered.
Remember that a vehicle being sold "as is" means just that. In fact, most
used vehicles are not under warranty for any period of time. There also is no
such thing as a spoken agreement for a warranty. Get any guarantees in writing,
including promises of repairs to be made before the vehicle's sale. Keep in mind
that Michigan's "Lemon Law" for defective vehicles only pertains to new
vehicles. Used vehicles are not covered.
If consumers do have a complaint, they should first try working it out with
the dealership owner or manager. If the problem isn't resolved, contact the
Secretary of State's Regulatory Monitoring Division at (1-888) SOS-MICH
(767-6424). An automotive complaint form also is
available online. The bureau only
investigates issues within its authority and does not regulate vehicle sales
> Vehicles FAQ
> Titling and
Registering a vehicle
> Buying a Vehicle from a Dealership
> Automotive Complaint