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Consumer Vehicle Purchases

The Federal Anti-Tampering Odometer Law prohibits anyone from falsifying mileage readings in a new or used vehicle. The Federal Used Car Law requires used car dealers to post Buyers Guides on used cars. The Federal Automobile Information Disclosure Act requires new car dealerships to put a sticker on the windshield or side window of the car. This sticker must list the base price of the car, the options added and their costs, as well as the dealer’s cost for transportation and the number of miles per gallon the car uses.

Dealers are not required by law to give used car buyers a three-day right to cancel. The right to return the car in a few days for a refund exists only if the dealer grants this privilege to buyers. The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyers Guide in every used vehicle they offer for sale. This includes light-duty vans, light-duty trucks, demonstrators, and program cars. Demonstrators are new cars that have not been owned, leased, or used as rentals, but have been driven by dealer staff. Program cars are low-mileage, current-model-year vehicles returned from short-term leases or rentals. Buyers Guides do not have to be posted on motorcycles and most recreational vehicles, nor by any seller that sells less than six vehicles a year. The Buyers Guide becomes part of the sales contract and overrides all contrary provisions. Dealers who offer a written warranty must complete the warranty section of the Buyers Guide. Dealers may offer a full or limited warranty on all or some of a vehicle’s systems or components. Most used car warranties are limited and their coverage varies. A full or limited warranty is not required to cover the entire vehicle. The dealer may specify that only certain systems are covered. Some parts or systems may be covered by a full warranty; others by a limited warranty. The dealer must check the appropriate box on the Buyers Guide if a service contract is offered, except in states where service contracts are regulated by insurance laws.

Inside Consumer Vehicle Purchases