Buyer beware, an age-old warning, is true now more than ever when buying certain used cars in West Virginia from a dealer.
As of July 1, 2019, West Virginia Code sec. 46A-6-102(4) allows dealers to sell “as is” any vehicle that has more than 100,000 miles on it or is seven or more years old or is being sold for $4,000 or less.
The old days of assuming that there is a warranty on the vehicle because you’re buying it from a dealer are gone.
Dealers do not need to provide any warranty at all for those older, high mileage, or low cost vehicles, and the old implied warranty of “good working order” is no longer applicable to them.
Further, West Virginia’s lemon law has not ever applied to used vehicle purchases.
This change makes a test drive and examination by a knowledgeable mechanic more crucial in finding a car that will function well and be worth the money. Getting good advice about the mechanical condition is likely to save money.
Plus, having a savvy buddy along to help make a hard choice easier and more rational is an advantage.
The new law does permit the buyer to return the vehicle for a refund within three business days by taking it back to the dealer lot. This could be hard to do if the vehicle isn’t even in running condition; you might have to tow it back.
Many purchase a used car from a dealer for the convenience of multiple cars to choose from and immediate financing.
Some consumers are not aware that they will pay a higher interest rate when the car dealer arranges the financing, regardless of their credit score. Dealing directly with the bank or credit union is likely to save money.
Looking for used vehicles online or arranging a private sale from someone nearby are alternatives and can save money, too. No warranty will be available from those sales either, but at least the buyer is aware of that in advance.
In this situation also, having a good mechanic check out the vehicle before purchase can save considerable money and frustration.
Legal issues dealing with vehicle purchases or other areas of concern can be discussed with the staff attorney at West Virginia Senior Legal Aid. If you are age 60 or older, call 800–229-5068 for free assistance.