Purchasing Process

Before the Purchase

  • Highly recommend that all consumers purchase used vehicles from licensed dealers.
  • It is key that a consumer test drive any potential purchase
  • Best that a consumer exercise the right to have the vehicle checked by a mechanic before the purchase.

As-Is Purchases

  • As-Is means the dealer is selling without a warranty, and if there is any mechanical breakdown after purchase repairs are the responsibility of the buyer.
  • Unless a consumer can prove a subsequent mechanical failure was due to a known fault purposely concealed, or repaired in a temporary manner that is deceptive in its purpose, the selling dealer is not likely to be held liable.
  • Dealer's failure to disclose material facts can void an As-Is sale Comer v Person Auto Sales Inc.368 F Supp.2d 476 (M.D.N.C. 2005)

Warranty

  • It is significant that a warranty is included in the purchase price. A warranty is provided directly by the dealer
  • Where most confusion sets in is when a service contract is provided by a third party provider, at an additional cost to the buyer.

Required Disclosures

  • Dealers have a duty to disclose:
    • Any material information a consumer would want to know that would affect the decision to purchase.
    • If a dealer has knowledge of any prior damage to the vehicle the dealer has a duty to inspect and disclose the findings of that inspection.
  • By statute (NCGS § 20-71.4.):
    • a dealer must disclose any fire, theft, flood, or salvage history; and
    • if the vehicle is five model years old or newer the dealer must disclose any body damage that exceeded 25% of the values of the vehicle at the time of the repair.
  • A dealer must disclose the odometer reading:
    • At the time of sale, and
    • Must further state if it is actual mileage,
    • In excess of mechanical limitations, or
    • If the mileage disclosed is not the actual mileage.
  • North Carolina DMV Odometer Disclosure Statement

Bill of Sale

  • Itemizes the entire purchase price to include:
    1. NC Road Use tax
    2. Tag fees
    3. "Doc Fees"
    4. Trade-in allowance
    5. Debits and credits for equity in trade or trade-in payoff
    6. Down payment
    7. Prices for ancillary products (such as Service contracts)
    8. Associated sales tax

Title Issues

  • A dealer is required to have possession of the vehicle title before offering for retail sale.
  • The physical possession of the last issued title is the only way a dealer can verify the existence of any "Brands", odometer discrepancies, or to confirm no outstanding liens against the previous owner