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Want to buy a decent used car? Don't let sellers rush you!

Posted at 5:00 AM, Oct 01, 2021

If you've been shopping for a used car, you know how crazy it's been trying to find anything decent and affordable.

While declining slightly, used car prices are up 26% over last year.

Supply is low, demand is high, and some buyers act too quickly just to get anything.

Helen let me know, "Within 3 hours of driving the car off the lot, it broke down. I had to pay $1,496 in repairs."

Helen may not have known the state has a used car lemon law.

It covers the vehicle for the first 15 days or 500 miles whatever comes first.

"The dealer would be responsible for the cost of all the repairs from the breakdown which hampered the ability for the vehicle to move," says David Warkentin.

Warkentin is executive director of the Arizona Independent Automobile Dealer's Association.

He joined us on an abc15 Let Joe Know Facebook live segment talking about how to buy a used car.

While you are less protected buying from an individual than a dealer, there are things you should do before buying from anyone.

Protect yourself:

  • Have the car inspected by someone you trust
  • Get a car history report looking for possible accidents and mileage issues
  • Check out your car's reliability online

If you're buying from an individual also take these steps:

  • Deal with the seller in person
  • Check the title for seller's name
  • Make title and money transfers at MVD offices if possible

Another issue we're still seeing involves dealers unfairly keeping deposits.

It happens when the buyer is financing through a dealership.

Buyers are told financing hasn't been finalized and are encouraged to take the car home and wait.

This is after the buyer has given a deposit and/or a trade-in.

It's called "spot delivery" and it is legal in Arizona.

But we are seeing dealers tell buyers they can't get financing, take the car back and also keep the deposit.

Unless there is damage done to the car or excessive mileage, Warkentin says deposits can't be kept if there is no car.

"The dealer can't keep the down payment hostage," he says.

If dealers don't give you the car or your deposit back, take them to the Attorney General's office and to court.