One of the biggest benefits of buying a car from the original owner is that you’ll get it a lot cheaper than you would from a dealer. The car is more likely to have been well looked after, too. There are certain rights that you as the buyer have when buying a car privately. The seller must not describe the car wrongfully, so if it is described as having belonged to ‘just one owner’ and that is proved to be a false claim, then the car has been wrongfully described and you may be due some compensation. There are two points to consider here. The claim of ‘one owner’ must have been made before the sale and it must have been a factor in the purchase.
Before buying a car from the original owner, it is still up to you as the buyer to do all the checks necessary to make sure you are not getting a lemon. You must have the car inspected by a mechanic to find out that it is roadworthy. If the seller does not wish this to be done, then be very wary. It could be because there are major faults.
An online history check would be a good move. You’ll be able to find out for sure if this car is a good buy. Many times an older person who has since died was the owner of the car and the family is selling it. This can often be a good buy, as the elderly often do not use their cars much in their declining years. It could even be worth far more than the going price if the family is in a hurry finalize the estate and return to their everyday lives.
Always pay for an emissions test before buying a used vehicle privately. While the seller must provide a smog certificate, the car may still not comply. In California, this is a legal requirement for the seller, but it is still up to the buyer to check it. There should also be a label under the hood that will show whether the vehicle was manufactured to meet the Californian or the US standards, which differ.
All in all, it could be an extremely good thing to buy from the original owner – so long as you are aware of the pitfalls and your rights, you won’t go too far wrong. For more information, contact the California Department of Consumer Affairs. Their toll-free number is (800) 952 5210