Know Your Consumer Rights What to Know About Returning a Used Car

Know Your Consumer Rights What to Know About Returning a Used Car
Know Your Consumer Rights What to Know About Returning a Used Car

One of the most challenging types of speeches to give is the one in which you are trying to teach your audience something new. You have the knowledge, you just have to find a way to use your speech to pass that knowledge on to your audience. The good news is that these speeches are possible to give. We just have to take the time to prepare properly for them. Let’s take a look at how we would prepare to give a speech about the best way to go about returning a used car.

While quarterly sales for several car companies fell by 10%+ in 2020 due to joblessness concerns, if you pass by a dealership today, you’ll still see people shopping for vehicles. That’s largely due to the fact that no matter what economic conditions are plaguing a country, one’s ability to make any sort of living is largely predicated on their ability to drive.

With dealerships losing money, some have taken steps to start peddling cars that they typically wouldn’t. These cars may have defects and might prompt you to look into how returning a used car works post-purchase.

If you’ve been sold a faulty vehicle by a presumably desperate dealer, know that you have rights and may be entitled to a refund or equitable solution. Below, we break down a handful of things to know about the vehicle return process.

Know Federal Consumer Rights Laws

There are two levels of governance that protect consumers from unethical purchases. Those levels fall under the state and the federal government. Under the federal government, you’re covered by a handful of legislative pieces that you may be able to use to facilitate returning a used car.

The Consumer Rights Act

The Consumer Rights Act was passed in 2015. It gives citizens and legal residents of the United States the ability to return faulty purchases within 30 days.

What’s considered faulty are purchases that end up being unfit for the reason they were bought. This might be due to technical malfunctions, apparent safety concerns, or any number of other flaws.

There are, of course, gray areas here seeing as how some cars are old and may naturally be sporting defects that come with age. The rule of thumb is that if defects were not disclosed and would likely prohibit a reasonable buyer from making the purchase if they were informed pre-purchase, you can likely claim a refund.

Unfair Trading Regulations

In addition to the Consumer Rights Act, there are Unfair Trading Regulations that have been on the books since 2008. These regulations broadly bar businesses from entering into unfair transactions with consumers.

An example of an unfair transaction would be selling people vehicles with serious flaws that are beyond the scope of what was apparent at the time of purchase.

Consumer Credit Act

If you purchased your vehicle on credit, your credit card company may offer certain protections that could speed up a refund. Credit companies are required to protect consumers when they report fraudulent transactions.

Purchasing faulty goods may fall into this fraudulent transaction bucket which could prompt your card company to automatically charge-back what you paid and re-deposit the money into your account.

Understanding State Guidelines

In addition to federal guidelines, several states offer additional protections regarding returning used cars. These protections usually fall under what is called “Lemon Laws”.

For example, when you learn more about New York’s Lemon Laws, you’ll find that it provides protections to consumers that purchase new or used cars that experience certain flaws within the first two years of delivery.

There are several thresholds a car needs to meet in order to fulfill state lemon law standards but if your vehicle does, it can be much easier to claim a refund than trying to go through federal statutes.

Appreciate What’s Not Covered

Federal and state consumer protections do not cover every conceivable issue you might have with your car purchase. That would be unfair to sellers.

In general, you can expect the following to be denied under consumer protections:

Disclosed Flaws

If a car seller has disclosed a flaw to you and has a record of that disclosure, you can’t later double-back and ask for a refund because you no longer want to deal with the issue. Think carefully before purchasing cars that come with noted problems.

Granted, if a flaw turns out to be a much larger issue than was discussed, you may have grounds for action.

Flaws That Develop Due to Reasonable Wear and Tear

People that buy used cars can expect certain ware and tare defects. For example, a car that was made 30 years ago might have a door that sticks.

Issues like that are to be expected and can’t always be returned. Exercise common sense and keep your exceptions reasonable when purchasing older vehicles.

Buyer’s Remorse

For those of you that just wish you had bought a different car, you’re out of luck in almost all cases. No laws protect against buyer’s remorse. Your only course of action at that point would be to ask your dealer for leniency.

Dealer Options

When you attempt to return a vehicle and have a good case for doing so, your dealer will usually have a few options. In most cases, they’ll be allowed to cover the expense of fixing the issue as opposed to giving you a full refund.

In instances where they can’t fix the problem or doing so would be cost-prohibitive, they might then offer you an equal value replacement or a full refund.

Dealers can also refuse to assist you at all in which case you’d have to take them to court to collect what you feel is owed.

Returning a Used Car Is Usually a Headache

While you may get lucky and end up doing business with a great car dealer that’s quick to facilitate your returning a used car, chances are, you’re going to get push back when you try to return a car purchase.

The best way to avoid this headache is to thoroughly screen and test any car you’re thinking of purchasing. The more time you spend with a vehicle, the better chance you’ll have of noting issues and making informed purchase decisions.