How to Determine if You Have a Valid Used Car Case


Weekly and virtually daily I receive phone calls and emails from consumers who have problems with vehicles they purchased.  Most of them purchase a used vehicle and do little, if any, inspection or investigation on the vehicle and instead place a significant amount of trust in what the dealer/seller says about the vehicle’s history and condition.  As you can imagine this “I trust you” approach frequently results in problems—mainly for the buyer.

If you or someone you know has a problem with a used vehicle
click here to determine whether the case “flows.” And be sure to assemble and review all pertinent documents as follows:

Warranty issues or Vehicle problems

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Damage Disclosure Statement
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement
  • Buyer’s Guide window sticker
  • “We Owe” or similar documentation of any post-purchase vehicle work/modifications to be performed by seller
  • All other documents you received from seller at time of purchase
  • Advertisements or Internet listings about the specific vehicle you purchased
  • Work orders, service tickets, and other documentation of work performed on vehicle
  • Receipts for any payments for work performed on vehicle
  • Warranty agreements and vehicle service agreements
  • Vehicle owner’s manual and warranty booklet (applicable in case of a vehicle you purchased new a/k/a as first titled owner)
  • Completed Vehicle Problem Log

Failure to Disclose Vehicle Damage

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Damage Disclosure Statement
  • Buyer’s Guide window sticker
  • All other documents you received from seller at time of purchase
  • Certified North Carolina DMV vehicle title history (or title history from another state if appropriate)
  • Documentation of previous vehicle damage (ex: repair invoice, repair estimate)
  • Accident/incident report(s)
  • CarFax or Autocheck report on vehicle

Wrongful Repossession

  • Bill of Sale a/k/a Buyer’s Order
  • Retail installment sales contract a/k/a finance contract
  • Receipts or proof of all vehicle payments made by you
  • Security agreement (typically gives seller and/or lender the right to repossess vehicle if breach of contract occurs)
  • Any certificates of repossession
  • Correspondence or notices from seller or lender regarding potential deficiencies or breach of contract by you
  • Documentation of seller or lender’s usage of a GPS tracking and/or shutdown device on the vehicle

 

Finally, contact me or another consumer law attorney but PLEASE try to gather as many documents as possible before doing so.  I cannot count how many times people contact me to discuss their situation only for me to tell them I need more documents and information before I can answer their questions and assess their case. Hope you never have the need to contact me about a used vehicle issue but if you do please follow the above steps so we can figure out where you stand.

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