The Differences Between Buying Used Cars From A Dealership Vs. A Private Seller

Most people will go to a dealership to buy a used car. However, when you cannot afford the used car prices at the dealership, you are more likely to buy from a private seller. You may get a nice, used car that way, or you may get a lemon. Those are the risks you take. There are many more differences between buying a used car from a dealership and buying from a private seller. It helps to know what may happen when you choose to do the latter.

Dealerships Have Fully Examined and Repaired Used Vehicles

Dealerships are required by law to check out and repair everything that is wrong with a used vehicle before they can sell it. The bill of sale discloses everything on it and in it that does not work or is just cosmetic. You know exactly what you are getting when you buy from a dealer.

You do not get the same level of guarantee from a private seller. A private seller does not have to disclose anything about the car, nor does he/she have to fix it after he/she has sold it to you. Additionally, "lemon laws" do not apply to private sellers. That only applies to dealerships.

You Can Make Payments on a Used Car from a Dealership

A private seller typically expects payment in full. He or she is not about to allow you to take possession of the vehicle and transfer the title without paying in full. A private seller also does not take checks or credit cards, not without making sure the check clears and the money from the credit card is effectively transferred from the card reader and app program used.

The dealership, however, will take payments, so long as you have a loan agreement or you have worked out a financing plan with the in-house finance group at the dealership. While you may pay more for a used car at a dealership, you can drive the car home with you. You are also assured that the car works and is safe to drive when you purchase from a dealership.

If Something Goes Wrong in the First Week, the Dealership May Fix It

Although dealerships sell used cars "as-is," many of them are willing to make things right and fix things when something goes wrong with the vehicle in the first week you drive it. Call the dealership right away if there is something wrong. They may even provide a loaner vehicle while they fix yours. There is absolutely no way that would happen when buying a used car from a private seller. 

For more information on used vehicles for sale, contact your local dealership.