Not only are there millions of cars available, but also it's difficult to tell which ones are good values and which ones are best suited for the auto graveyard.
To help make the process easier, iMotors.com the first and only used car e-tailer in the United States has developed a Consumers' Bill of Rights "in order to form a more perfect way to buy used cars."
Knowing your "rights" can be a helpful way to prepare for the buying process. (You can see the complete Bill of Rights at www.imotors.com.) Over 40 million used cars will be sold in the U.S. this year, nearly an all-time high.
Even so, the old warning caveat emptor ("Let the buyer beware") still applies, so it's a good idea to do some research before browsing the virtual and traditional used car lots.
Here are some of the points from iMotors.com's Consumers' Bill of Rights:
You have the right to complete information. Research vehicles on and offline to understand the options available and how your top choices stack up. Go online to www.edmunds.com or check out Consumer Reports' Used Car Buying Guide for vehicle information.
You have the right to get the exact car you want don't settle. At any given moment, there are 1.8 million used cars available in the U.S., so you can afford to be choosy until you find the right car with the specific options you desire.
You have the right to understand your financing options. Make sure you get the rate and terms that are best for you.
Rule of thumb: Transportation expenses including car payments, repairs and insurance should amount to between 10 and 15 percent of monthly living expenses.
You have the right to not negotiate. You can get details on fair prices to pay through Kelley's Blue Book (www.kbb.com) or the NADA Official Used Car Guide (www.nadaguides.com). Ask for a guaranteed price quote up at the beginning of the process.
You have the right to a fair trade-in. If you plan on trading in your car, establish its value up front. Determine whether the best avenue is to trade it in or sell it yourself.
You have the right to high-quality vehicle and to expect that the dealer will stand behind what they sell. Get a fair and easy-to-understand warranty. Read it carefully to see exactly what's covered.
A good warranty will cover the vehicle from bumper to bumper, not just the power train.
You have the right to know about the car's past. All dealers inspect their used cars, and you have the right to know what they found. Get the car's title history, and ensure it has not been flood-damaged or salvaged.
Bring the car to a mechanic and have it checked out. Make sure there is a one-week, full refund policy on the vehicle, in case a problem develops.
You can also get information via a service called Carfax (www.carfax.com). Plug in the car's vehicle identification number and learn the number of previous owners, odometer readings, lease history and more.
iMotors.com works to exceed consumer expectations by selling a nearly unlimited selection of one to five-year old vehicles in like-new condition. To learn more, visit www.imotors.com.
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