Having Used Car Problems? Read On.

Is there a way to get out of a bad car deal and not having to damage my credit?

I just got into a really bad deal recently. I'm financing an 02 Mazda 626 at 15.50% and my payoff is around $11,000 and the car has tons of problem and it is only been a month. I just want to know if there is any ways to get out of this and not having to damage my credit.

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Bill's Answer
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  • Vehicle purchase agreements do not include a cooling-off period.
  • State lemon laws deal with vehicles still under the manufacturer warranty.

Frequently consumers who have purchased a used car soon realize that the vehicle’s mechanical condition is not as impeccable as the dealer led them to believe. Unfortunately, you usually cannot return the vehicle and expect to receive a refund of the purchase price.

Generally speaking, automobile purchase agreements do not include a “cooling-off” or return period, so the dealership will likely not allow you to return the vehicle for a refund your money. However, since you are experiencing mechanical problems with the vehicle, federal and state law may provide you some protection. The first thing you should do, if you have not already done so, is contact the dealership that sold you the vehicle, to explain the problems you are experiencing and to ask what the dealership will do to repair the vehicle. Since you purchased the vehicle 30 days ago, hopefully the car is still under some sort of warranty, even if it is only a short-term warranty provided by the dealership. If the car is still under warranty, the dealership should repair it at little or no cost to you. If the dealership refuses to repair the vehicle despite the warranty, or if the vehicle is not covered by a warranty, you should research your state’s “lemon law” to find what recourse is available to you. Lemon laws are a type of state law designed to prevent consumers from being stuck with a vehicle with persistent problems.

Most state lemon laws deal with vehicles that are still under manufacturer warranty. However, many states also include a provision to protect consumers who have purchased used vehicles. Visit CarLemon.com to find if your state’s lemon law applies to used vehicles, and if so, what protections it provides.

If you find that your purchase is covered by your state’s lemon law, but the dealership continues to refuse to repair or replace the vehicle, you should contact your state Attorney General’s consumer protection division to discuss the options available to you. You may also want to consult with an attorney to discuss your legal rights and the legal recourse available to you. Even if your state’s lemon law does not apply to used vehicles, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit for fraud if the dealership misrepresented mechanical condition of the vehicle. Again, you should consult with an attorney familiar with consumer protection law to discuss the legal options available to you.

I wish you the best of luck in resolving the issues you are experiencing with your vehicle.

I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

Bills.com

43 Comments

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  • DM
    Apr, 2013
    Danny
    I purchased a vehicle from a dealership I was under the impression that I had paid them in full for the down-payment, now 8 months later I have taken my truck in for repair. The repair company says that the dealer is willing to pay for the repair since they did not tell us that the wiring system was not a part of the extended warranty, but they will not release my truck to me until I pay them the $285.00 that I was not aware that I still owe them since there has been no communication in 8 months about a balance due. Can they legally withhold my truck from me?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2013
      Bill
      I can't give you legal advice, as only a lawyer can, but I will share some thoughts with you.

      If I understand you correctly, it appears a third-party repair shop seized your vehicle on behalf of a dealership that claims you are in default on a loan. If that's what happened here, the answer to your question is "No, the third party has no claim to your vehicle and may not place a mechanics lien on your vehicle and withhold it from you." Consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience to learn more about your rights, and how to retrieve the vehicle from the repair shop.
      0 Votes

  • KB
    Mar, 2013
    Kendra
    My husband and I bought a used 2003 Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer Edition with 92,000 miles from El Cajon Mitsubishi in February 2013. We took it for a test drive and the salesman was telling us it was a good car had nothing wrong with it and very low mileage. The car has a warranty on it from the dealership. We liked it and it ran beautiful so we decided to get it. We payed the down payment and signed the contract. As we were driving it off the lot at night my husband noticed the interior lights would not go off and the information screen was saying door was ajar when all doors were closed. We asked them to look at it and they said it was just a sensor and they would replace it, all we had to do was make an appointment with the service department. The next day I was taking my kids to school and the passenger window was making a loud noise and would not go down properly or go back up without someone pulling on it. We talked to the dealership and made an appointment with the service department. However, we took it in on our appointment day and when we picked it up they said they could not replace the sensor because Ford has to do it and it would cost us $60 for a new one. They said the window was off the track and is why it was acting the way it was and that we would have to take it to Ford to fix that as well and it would cost us around $350. These are problems that should have been fixed before the car was put on the lot for sale but they were not. The car is also saying low oil pressure all the time and that the engine needs to be serviced. We were assured the car was in proper working order before we bought it and now we see we were lied to about the condition of the care. I don't want to be responsible for making payments on a car that has problems with it when there should have been none. What are my options?? Can I return it for a full refund?? Is the dealership responsible for fixing these problems??
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2013
      Bill
      Review the warranty the dealership provided to learn what items the dealership promised to fix. The document you signed plus the salesman's promises determine what costs you or the dealership will bear in repairing the vehicle. If the dealership is now backpedaling on the promises it made in its warranty, then consult with a lawyer who has consumer law experience to learn your rights, including whether you can return the car.

      For the benefit of other readers, Kendra's tale illustrates why it is a good idea to let a mechanic you hire inspect a vehicle before purchase.
      0 Votes

  • JK
    Oct, 2012
    James
    I purchased a car from dealer with a 90 day warranty. The car lost power on the freeway, within the 90 days. I called dealer and I paid to tow it in. One month later, after they fixed it, the car broke down again. They had it towed in and did the same repair. 2 weeks later, the same problem. Twice this car lost power on the freeway, My wife had to avoid oncoming cars trying not to have a accident. The car lost power on me, driving past a school with kids out crossing the street. Every time this happens and is a safety issue, we have told them each time this has happened when we have taken the GMC back.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Oct, 2012
      Bill
      Check with your state's office of Consumer Protection, usually part of the State Attorney General's office, to find out your rights. The fact that the problem initially occurred during the time you were covered by the warranty is helpful to you, in terms of getting a long-term solution worked out.
      0 Votes

  • KN
    Apr, 2012
    Kaycee
    I bought a car in 2012 in Oregon, hasn't even been a month. The car broke down after 5 days of driving it. There is no warranty and it was an as is purchase but the seller i talked to said that he has "driven the car" that it "is a great car" and that "it runs great." We took it for a test drive and there was nothing wrong with it, it ran great. But 5 days later it stalled when my husband was driving home for work. It went from 45 to 0 in 2 seconds, didn't sputter, didn't give any sign, just died. It hurt my husband's shoulder, and had my 4-month-old been in the car she could have been seriously injured. Is there any way i can legally make them pay for repairs? I know Oregon's Lemon law doesn't cover used cars without warranties, but i read something about them having to make sure it passes emissions for 30 days?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Consult with an Oregon lawyer who has experience in litigating consumer law. Tiny details matter in cases like these. The statements you shared may create an implied warranty, but it depends on the context of the conversation, and whether any of these statements were in response to your questions about the vehicle's reliability.

      For the benefit of other readers, Kaycee's message shows why it is important for used-car buyers to take a vehicle to a trusted mechanic for a general inspection before buying. I have no idea what could be wrong with Kaycee's vehicle, and it is possible even the most detailed inspection would not have revealed the sudden deceleration issue. But then again, maybe it would have. I am also a big believer in Carfax, which shows the vehicle's history and clues to its reliability.
      0 Votes

  • KK
    Feb, 2012
    Kalelah
    I bought a 2006 chevy monte carlo yesterday. The battery died as soon as I got home, so the dealer fixed it. Now only a day later the sunroof is messing up. I've only had the car roughly 24 hrs and already experiencing multiple problems. Since I traded my previous car to them for this one, can I take this car back and trade it back in for my old one?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Feb, 2012
      Bill
      Yes, but do not expect the transaction to happen for free, unless your state has a lemon law that covers used cars.

      Your message is a good reminder for me to repeat the advice offered by the well-known car repair experts "Click and Clack": Before you buy a car, take it to your mechanic for a check-up. A simple test would have revealed the weak battery, for example.
      0 Votes