Local News

Used Car Buyers Beware: Look for Buyer's Guides

Posted December 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Let the buyer beware. That's the word from a consumer watch group if you're in the market for a used car. A national survey says many dealers are breaking laws, laws which are put in place to protect the consumer.

This is a buyer's guide. By law, a buyers guide has to be posted on a used car that's for sale. It has lots information including the make, model, and year, whether there's a warranty, what's covered, and if you can buy a service contract. The Consumer Federation of America did a survey in eleven states to see how many dealers actually post the guide. In North Carolina, about one fifth did not.

Shopping for a used car can be confusing and overwhelming. One of the few tools you have to help you find the right car is the buyers guide on the window.

By federal law, it has to be in the car. But the North Carolina Consumers Council says some dealers are not following that law.

"Complaints about used cars and used car dealers are one of the highest, if not the highest, ranked in consumer complaint in the United States," says Michael Rulison of the NC Consumers Council.

The Council did a survey of 18 used car dealerships in the Triangle and found 22% did not post the buyer's guide. Council members are calling on the Attorney General to crack down on dealers who break the law.

At Capital Ford in Raleigh, they post the guides and encourage buyers to read them.

"It helps the customer who's about to spend several thousand dollars," explains car dealer Donnie Eason. "Whether the car is going to have a warranty, it gives the customer a piece of mind, and it's important for the dealership too."

At the bottom of the guide you'll find some good advice. Get the car checked out by your mechanic!

According to the survey, only 78% of North Carolina dealers allowed a buyer's mechanic to look at cars. That's low compared to other states.