Advice for car hunters this Presidents Day weekend

February 15, 2023

Published: 2/15/2023 4:59:48 PM

The Presidents Day weekend is often the first big sales event of the year for car dealerships, and many consumers show up in search of deals. Here are some tips to consider before you start looking for a new or used vehicle.

Before you start shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend. Consider how much it will cost to insure and maintain the vehicle each year. Then figure out how you will pay for it. Do you have a trade-in? Are you able to make a down payment? Consider what you can manage for a monthly payment.

If you need to borrow money, check with financial institutions to compare interest rates and terms. Many car dealers also offer financing. Don’t make a decision based solely on a monthly payment. Again, know how much you want to spend for the car and think about how long you will be paying for it. If you are buying a used car, will the car last at least as long as you are paying for the loan?

Research the dealer as well as the vehicle. Get recommendations from people you trust and go online to search for complaints against the car seller. Research the make and model of the vehicle you are considering. Check consumer publications and websites that offer information about reliability, safety and owner satisfaction. Check car prices and trade-in values online before you start shopping.

When you find a car you like, new or used, take it for a test drive. Check the steering, brakes, and listen for any unusual noises. If you find a problem and the dealer agrees to repair it, get that agreement in writing before you buy the car.

Before you buy a used car, have it checked by an independent mechanic you trust. You may have to pay a small fee to have it checked but it’s well worth the money spent if it keeps you from buying a car with major problems.

Check the vehicle identification number (VIN), found on the dashboard near the windshield or on the driver’s side door jamb, for safety ratings on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website or by calling 888-327-4236. You will also find information there about car problems that lead to recalls but went unrepaired for the vehicle you are considering. Ask the seller to have the recall repaired before you buy or do so on your own after the sale — either way, the manufacturer pays for the recall repair.

You may also want to buy a vehicle history report that contains information about the title, odometer reading, and whether the vehicle has been declared a total loss, salvage, flood or junk. The U.S. Department of Justice website, vehiclehistory.bja.ojp.gov has information about vehicle history reports.

Once you agree on a price and you are ready to finalize the deal, carefully go over the sales contract and financing documents before signing. Double check that the price, any rebates that you were promised, and the value of your trade-in are the same as what you agreed to. Check to see if you were charged for any additional fees or add-ons that you did not agree to. On the financing paperwork, check to see if the information matches your application and that you can afford the loan.

Whether you buy new or used, there are laws in place to protect the consumer if something goes wrong with the vehicle. Here is a description of each:

■The Massachusetts Lemon Law covers a new or leased vehicle for one year or 15,000 miles from the date or delivery, whichever comes first.

<sbull value="sbull"><text xmlns="urn:schemas-teradp-com:gn4tera"></text></sbull>The Lemon Aid Law protects buyers of used cars from dealers and private parties. It allows the cancellation of a motor vehicle contract or sale if the vehicle fails to pass inspection within a week from sale date and if the estimated costs of repairs or safety related defects is more than 10% of the purchase price.

■The Massachusetts Used Vehicle Warranty Law applies to vehicles with fewer than 125,000 miles and applies to defects that impair the vehicles use or safety. The warranty length is based on the mileage at the time of purchase.

■The Implied Warranty Law covers the sale of all consumer products, including vehicles with 125,000 miles or more. It does not apply to private party sales. Under the implied warranty of merchantability, the item must do what it was designed to do with reasonable safety, efficiency, and ease, and for at least a reasonable period of time. (There is no definition of what a “reasonable period” is in the law.)

Dealers are required to provide written information about these warranty laws on used vehicles. There should be a yellow sticker outlining the Used Vehicle Warranty Law and a copy of the federal Buyer’s Guide on the vehicle.

Used vehicles cannot be sold without a warranty in Massachusetts because every vehicle is covered by the Implied Warranty Law. If you see a box reading “as is, no warranty” checked on the federal Buyer’s Guide or if one is on the sales contract, don’t sign the contract and report the seller to our office.

More information about car sales and repairs can be found at mass.gov/your-car-your-rights. For information about the Lemon Laws, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation at 888-283-3757. If you have a problem with a vehicle purchase or would like more information about your rights, contact our Greenfield office at 413-774-3186 or our Northampton office at 413-586-9225.

Anita Wilson is the director of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Unit, which is a Local Consumer Program working in cooperation with the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Source link

Copyright © 2023 Keep Driving. All Rights Reserved.
DMCA.com Protection Status
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram