Buying a car at the local auction can be both a rewarding and daunting process. Some buyers have faced the harsh reality of purchasing a vehicle that turned out not to be in the condition originally disclosed at the auction. Then, unfortunately, they had to endure the process of trying to fight to get their money back. Hopefully, you’ll never have to go through such a process, but here are a few pointers to use if you want to do your level best to avoid being stuck.

First, be sure you know your state’s lemon laws. A lemon is a car that’s sold in a much worse condition that originally disclosed. By knowing your state’s lemon laws, you will know what the process is, just in case of a tough situation with the auction house.  If you get a “lemon,” take advantage of the law.

Secondly, you’ll need to understand the rules of the auction house. Most auctions offer a limited warranty, usually between 30-90 days and will cover most issues related to the vehicle.  If you overlooked something in preparing to bid, at least be sure to use the warranty within the specified time.

Lastly, take the time to assess the full condition of the vehicle before you bid or purchase. This includes carefully checking the exterior condition (paint, body, and accessories) and having a good understanding of the power train. I can’t stress this point enough! Take someone to the auction that has more mechanical knowledge that you have. This will save you tons of heartache and money in the long run.

You can also order a Carfax on the vehicle prior to purchase; this will reveal the car’s past history (damage caused by flood, wrecks, or fire). Ultimately, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to determine the true condition of the vehicle. There are instances where buyers can be “doped” by the auctions, but in most cases buyers must be aware and understand exactly what their purchasing.



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