In 1985, the Federal Trade Commission created and mandated that the FTC's "Buyers Guide", commonly referred to as the "AS IS" document, be part of any dealer's sales contract when selling a used vehicle. This "AS-IS" document can be the used car buyer's worst nightmare.
Consumer groups originally created the Buyers Guide to help protect the general public from the scams utilized by the used car industry. However, once submitted to Congress, lobbyists and special interest groups quickly transformed these consumer protection rights into a document that benefits the dealers. According to the law, the AS-IS document must be filled out and displayed on every vehicle for sale on a used car lot.
The "AS IS" document has two boxes for the dealer to check, either the "AS IS-NO WARRANTY" or the "WARRANTY" box.
If the "AS IS-NO WARRANTY" box is checked, the buyer still owns the vehicle even if it breaks in half on the way home.
If the "WARRANTY" box is checked, the buyer usually assumes that the entire car is protected. The used car dealer must declare, on this document, what items the dealer will warranty and for what duration of time or miles. Every dealers' warranty is different. Most dealers' warranties only cover a limited number of parts. A dealer's warranty can be useless for the buyer. Example: a stated one year warranty might cover the rearview mirror from falling off the windshield. The buyer must understand the warranty before purchase. (Any remaining manufacturer's warranty, if any, is separate from the dealer's warranty.)
Many buyers don't read the "AS-IS" document until there is a problem. The bottom of this document states: "The buyer will pay all costs for any repairs incurred after the sale. The dealer assumes no responsibly for any repairs regardless of any oral statements made about the vehicle".
Many buyers mistakenly assume there is some type of automatic 3-day take back period, or 30-day warranty. There are none. This is a classic example of "Let the Buyer Beware". Dealers who knowingly sell bad cars are able to hide behind the "AS IS" document, once you buy it - it's yours. High-pressure salesmen will talk most buyers out of their right to have a professional unbiased inspection. The "AS IS" document protects the Seller, not the Buyer. However, the buyer has the right to have the vehicle professionally inspected before purchase.
The #1 reason vehicles with existing problems are purchased is the buyers' inability to determine the current condition before purchase.
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