Better Business Bureau offers advice on wise used car buying

Consumer Watch

Tax season means many people will be spending their return money on big purchases– such as used cars. But before you buy, the Better Business Bureau of East Alabama and West Georgia has some advice for you.

“Check out the company,” says BBB President and CEO Kelvin Collins.  “You want to make sure that you’re going to get someone reputable, who is going to stand behind that product after the sell.”

Collins says savvy used car shoppers do their homework.

“The number one thing consumers should do before they buy a used car is take it to a mechanic of their choosing and have them go over it.  A lot of dealerships do have their own mechanics. But, you want to take it somewhere neutral, outside of that dealership who is looking out for you.”

Collins says that inspection will likely cost you upwards of $40.  But he says it’s money well-spent.

“But that could save you thousands of dollars in the long run, if it ends up being a lemon,” Collins says.

Collins also points out that consumers need to understand that used cars are often sold “as-is.”

“On the automobile, it will be notated on the window,” Collins says. “The Federal Trade Commission has the Buyer’s Guide that’s required to be in the window of these automobiles whether it has a warranty or is sold “as-is.”

It’s possible to purchase service agreements for used cars, but Collins says be sure you understand that not everything is covered by it, especially engines.

And if you do purchase a service agreement, Collins advises buying it from the dealership where you purchase the car.

If you want to check for used car dealerships that are Better Business Bureau accredited, go the BBB’s website.

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