This is the worst, absolutely THE worst advice I could give you. You hear this all the time, and it seems like GOOD advice. So, why do I say it is the WORST advice? Because it pains me to look into my crystal ball and know that you will NOT take it. It’s also the worst advice because if I give you this advice after you buy a piece of junk, then I sound like an “I told you so” nag. Of course, I'm going to give it to you anyway, but you're putting me in a real bind by not taking it. How do I know you won't take my (and every other lemon law attorney's) advice? Because you’ll be in my office (or theirs) asking for help to get you out of the sale. Maybe we can help, and maybe we can’t.
That's it - that's my very best and worst advice. It bears repeating:
Get your used car inspected before you buy it!
Now, rather than leaving my blog on such a negative Nelly note, I thought it might be helpful to talk about the psychology of why people feel so uncomfortable asking the seller if they can take the car to their own mechanic for inspection. (This is arm-chair psychology since I’m not an actual psychologist but attorney's are also known as “counselor” so I'll take my leave.)
First, people do not like conflict and setting a boundary with the seller is uncomfortable. You’ll likely get a lot of push back: “I already inspected the car and it runs fine.” “Don’t you trust me?” “Just sign the papers first and you can take it to a mechanic. If there is a problem, I’ll take it back.” “You can’t take the car because it isn’t insured.” “I’ve shown you the Carfax already and it says there aren’t any problems.” And on and on.
What a normal car buyer might think is, “Lordy, just get me out of here.” “I’ll just sign so he shuts up.” “Well, he sounds honest.” “He said he would take it back.” “I’ve already taken his time, so I have to buy it now.” All of this push-back is really just to bully you, distract you, and make you uncomfortable. Sellers WANT you uncomfortable.
There is one ADULT requirement that you should know about. If you buy from a private seller, YOU are required to report the sale to DMV within 10 days of the purchase date. The seller signs over the title (pink slip) to you and you notify DMV of the sale. If you buy from a used car dealer, the dealer is supposed to report the sale to the DMV.
Being better informed, empowered, and a bit more self-reflective, we can close this counseling session and I will hang up my psychologists hat ...