Caveat emptor is a Latin that means “let the buyer beware.” The warning can have special meaning for those who are shopping for a used car. In all cases, used car buyers should seek and obtain as much useful information as possible about the vehicle before they finalize the purchase.
That said, it is also important to note that far too often, unscrupulous used car dealers will hide important information about a previous accident or has been damaged in a natural disaster. Sometimes sellers will also hide information about a vehicle recall.
Hiding details about a vehicle recall can be especially problematic if the required repairs were never made.
The first step in determining whether or not a vehicle has been part of a recall is to locate the VIN (vehicle identification number). The VIN enables you to look up the vehicle and learn about any recalls at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website.
It should be noted that federal law requires dealers to fix any safety recall issue before selling, leasing or renting a vehicle – but there’s no such requirement for used vehicles.
“Buyers should feel confident the vehicles they buy are safe,” said a AAA spokesperson. “If the manufacturer issues a recall, repairs should be performed as expeditiously as possible.”
A senior research engineer with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told USA Today that consumers need to be vigilant about recalls whether they are vehicle owners or buyers. “Part of shopping for a used vehicle should be checking for recalls and asking for proof the vehicle has been repaired before purchase.”
If a new or used car dealer has been deceptive about recalls, accidents, prior damage or repeated repairs to your vehicle, contact the Roseman Law Firm about Lemon Law and warranty law violations.