Tips for buying a Used Car

Buying a used car is an investment that allows many of us to purchase a reliable car that fits our needs while still saving money. When purchasing a used car, it is important and necessary to do research ahead of time, as well as reviewing history reports and inspections before signing any contracts and above all, making wise, well thought out decisions.
April 23, 2014

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana reminds us there are three common venues to purchase used cars: private parties, dealerships, and independent lots.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule states that dealers must post a Buyer’s Guide for every used car that is for sale. The Buyer’s Guide must inform you if the car is being sold with a warranty, the percentage of repair costs the dealer pays while under warranty and any major problems of the mechanical and electrical systems. 

The Buyer’s Guide also suggests getting the vehicle inspected by your mechanic before purchasing. Keep in mind, when purchasing from a private party, sellers are not required to provide a Buyer’s Guide.

The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyer’s Guide in every used car they offer for sale; for more information go to

The FTC Buyers Guide must tell you: whether the vehicle is being sold "as is" or with a warranty (When the dealer offers a vehicle "as is," the box next to the "As Is - No Warranty" disclosure on the Buyers Guide must be checked.

If the box is checked but the dealer promises to repair the vehicle or cancel the sale if you're not satisfied, make sure the promise is written on the Buyers Guide. Otherwise, you may have a hard time getting the dealer to make good on his word.

BBB recommends being sure of the following information before making the purchase:

  • What percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty?
  • Get the deal in writing - spoken promises are difficult to enforce.
  • Keep the Buyers Guide for reference after the sale.
  • Ask to have the car inspected by a trustworthy independent mechanic before you buy.

If you decide to finance, make sure you understand the loan agreement.

Also before you sign any documents ask these questions.

  • What is the exact price you're paying for the vehicle?
  • What is the finance charge (the dollar amount the loan will cost you)?
  • How many payments will you be making — and how much is each one?

What about buying a used car, sight unseen? The BBB became aware of a company advertising itself on Craigslist. The company listed a physical address in Acadiana; it also included a picture of the vehicle on a website and of course the vehicle was priced as a really good deal. After hearing the story from the consumer we are wondering if perhaps it was a bogus car dealer.

Remember, require physical evidence of products and businesses. It is very easy to create a phony website; and if it sounds too good to be true-it probably is!

Start With Trust® Check businesses at before doing business.

BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. Find information at or call (337) 981-3497 24 hours a day for information on businesses throughout North America.

The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.