Selling a Lemon Law buyback car

November 12, 2013 12:23 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

I purchased a Lemon Law buyback car three years ago. I am now preparing to sell the vehicle and want to know if there is anything I need to disclose to the purchaser. 

Consumer Ed Says:

yes. After a manufacturer buys back a defective vehicle, it can scrap the vehicle or correct the defect. If the defect is corrected, the car can be sold or leased to a subsequent consumer, as it was in your case. In that event, the manufacturer must ensure that a disclosure form, the Reacquired Vehicle Notice, describing the defect is signed by the first person who purchases or leases the vehicle. The manufacturer is required to provide the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection with a copy of that signed disclosure document. The disclosure form should then be included with all documentation when that vehicle is sold in the future.

While only the manufacturer is required to provide a signed copy of the disclosure to the Governor's Office of Consumer Protection, the disclosure form should be provided in each subsequent transfer, sale or lease of the vehicle. This means that you should provide that Reacquired Vehicle Notice form to the buyer. If you no longer have the form, then please contact the manufacturer to request a copy. 

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Can a car with 1,100 miles on it be sold as "new"?

August 29, 2013 18:50 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed:

I just bought a new car only to discover after I left the dealership that it had 1,100 miles on it. Does this constitute a used car in the state of Georgia?

Consumer Ed Says:

The number of miles the car has been driven isn't the determining factor of whether the car is legally "used" or "new".   In Georgia, a "new passenger car" is one which has never been sold at retail to the general public, meaning the car title has not been transferred.

In contrast, a "used passenger car" is one that has been sold at retail to the general public or one whose title has previously been transferred. Therefore, a dealer that has used the car as a demonstrator car can sell the vehicle as "new" even when it has been driven hundreds of miles.

So, the short answer to your question is: yes, a car that has been driven 1,100 miles may indeed still be considered a "new" car.

However, while a dealer can represent that cars which have been driven as employee demos are "new," the dealer cannot misrepresent the actual condition of the vehicle. For instance, a dealer can't represent a car as a "demonstrator" car unless it has in fact been used exclusively for demonstration purposes by dealership personnel. Dealers therefore cannot sell a used car as a "new" or "demonstrator" car.

Dealers must disclose the number of miles the car has been driven. A dealer must also inform potential buyers if any damage has occurred to a new car that the dealer knows about, and which costs more than 5 percent of the manufacturer's suggested retail price to repair. 

When you purchase a new vehicle that has been driven substantially before it's sold at retail, you have increased bargaining power. So, when you are shopping for a new car, you should pay special attention to the odometer disclosure. Note the number of miles already on the car, to help you determine whether you're willing to pay the purchase price, before you sign the final purchase documents.

You may also want to ask the dealer to provide an extended warranty as a concession, since the manufacturer's warranty isn't extended when the vehicle has been driven by the dealer before retail sale. You should also ask how the car was used (i.e., whether the car was driven as a demo by a salesperson or family member of the dealer, or whether it was driven by many different people) to help you decide if you're willing to buy the car, and for what price. 

 

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My car was unfairly booted

July 10, 2013 18:29 by Consumer Ed

Dear Consumer Ed: 

Last night my husband and I went out for ice cream and parked in the lot in front of the ice cream parlor. We put $5 in the drop box as the sign instructed.  We got our ice cream and went for a walk while we ate it. We came back to our car half an hour later and discovered that it had been booted.  This is extremely unfair and I want to file a complaint.  Whom should I contact?

Consumer Ed says: 

If you believe your car was wrongfully booted and want to file a complaint, you have several options:

•    First, contact the booting company and talk to a service representative.  If you aren’t satisfied with the response you get, ask to speak to the manager or owner.  Some booting companies have online complaint forms that you can submit through the company’s website.  

•    Contact the property owner of the parking facility.  Property owners contract with booting companies, giving them permission to boot cars illegally parked on their property.  They should be notified if a company is booting legally parked vehicles, as this could have a detrimental impact on their business.

•    Some municipalities and counties require that a booting company have a special license to boot cars in that area. If a license is required where you were booted, check to see if the company is properly licensed and file a complaint with the local licensing authority. Depending on the county or municipality, this may be the city or county business license and permitting office or the police department.

•    If you believe that you have given the company enough time to resolve the problem and they have failed to do so, file a complaint with the Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.  

In Georgia, car booting is generally regulated at the county or city level.  Car booting is illegal in some areas, such as the unincorporated areas of Cherokee County, Clayton County, Cobb County and Gwinnett County.  In other counties and municipalities, there are special rules that regulate car booting companies, including limiting the fees that can be charged to remove a car boot; requiring that signage be prominently posted in parking areas where cars are subject to booting; requiring companies to provide a receipt with their company name and contact information when they’re paid to remove a car boot; and requiring that car booting companies be locally licensed.

Consumers should keep the following tips in mind:

•    Before you park your vehicle anywhere, look for signs indicating whether parking is allowed, whether you must pay to park there (and how much), how long you’re allowed to leave your vehicle after you pay, and the potential consequences for improperly parking your vehicle, including car booting or towing. 

•    Don’t park in parking lots or spaces assigned to a particular business if you are actually going to visit another business.  A booting company may be watching to see which business you enter, and even if you do enter the right business at some point, if you leave and go to another business, your vehicle may still get booted.    

•    If you find your car has been booted, immediately call the booting company at the number indicated on any notice left on your vehicle, or the number provided on the parking signage.  Get information on why the booting company believes you were parked improperly.  If you pay to remove the car boot, make sure you get a receipt, the name of the person who removed the boot, and the name of the booting company.  All of this information will be important if you choose to dispute the car boot later.

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