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Buying a Vehicle "As Is"

Michelle Naranjo
by Michelle Naranjo
February 4, 2008

The legal term 'as is,' means that you purchasing something, in this case a vehicle, and that vehicle offers no warranties at all in regards to quality, fitness, or value. You are buying the car with all the problems and blessings that you can see and all those problems that you can't see. When a dealer has a used vehicle that he wants to sell, he has the vehicle thoroughly inspected and may or may not refurbish it in appearance and make it mechanically sound. A dealer can sell a used motor vehicle in 'as is' condition on several conditions. These include: 1. If the vehicle in question is sold at a purchase price of less than three thousand. 2. If the used vehicle is seven years of age or older. A vehicle sold 'as is' removes all implied warranties. The only warranties in effect are those written down as pertaining to the vehicle in question. This does not mean that the vehicle can be unsafe to drive. On the contrary, the dealer IS responsible for making sure that car meets all the requirements for safe and legal operation at the time of sale. If the dealer wants to sell a vehicle that does not meet the legal and safety of the road standards then it can ONLY be sold if the ownership transfer documents clearly state that the vehicle is unsafe to operate. If you have bought a vehicle in 'as is' condition from a dealer and feel that they have not fulfilled this criteria, you can file a complaint against them. When you buy a vehicle for a private seller, you are buying the vehicle 'as is.' You are buying the car exactly as it sits before you with all defects, deficiencies and everything as yet unknown. The most common reason for a seller to sell their car is because they are buying a new one. Why? Does it need to have expensive repairs? Is it no longer dependable? If the car were having problems, most people would sell it instead of fixing it and then selling it. That doesn't mean every private sale is a bad deal. You can get some great deals sometimes. There's also a good chance to find vehicles that have been well maintained. This is the largest difference in buying privately or buying from a dealer. The cost of preparing the vehicle for sale and ensuring that it can safely and legally be driven on the roads. The private seller doesn't have to take on this cost and the dealer does. By buying privately, you are agreeing will not go back to the seller if the vehicle doesn't work properly or if it does not operate as you expected it to. Now having said that, the only possible recourse on an 'as is' purchase is if the seller fraudulently lies about something. This something could be a lie about the odometer or a statement about being a single owner or stating that he knows that the vehicle had never been in an accident when it has. These types of statements, if wrong, could be the basis to pursue a fraud claim. There is a much greater risk to buying a vehicle in 'as is' condition. Before making a purchase like this, seriously consider all risks and benefits before committing. To ensure that you are covered as well as you can be: • Clarify in writing that there are no implied warranties from the seller. • Make sure you understand and have in writing what is going to be done to the vehicle as part of the sale (if anything). Remember – private sellers do not have to provide any Warranty on their used vehicle. Therefore, avoid misunderstandings by documenting the sale of your 'as is' condition by using the Socrates As Is Addendum. This form, when filled out correctly lists: • The full names and addresses of both buyer and seller • Full description of vehicle • A summary of the warranty clause • A vehicle inspection clause • The buyer's acceptance and acknowledgment of the 'as is' condition of the vehicle • There is also space for signatures for both buyer and seller


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