Lemon Cars and Lemon Dealers

I am going to get off the track of new cars for this week's blog submission and talk about buying a used vehicle.

Of course there are a lot of things you need to consider when buying a used vehicle but there also are lots more tools you have these days that you did not have years ago. First of all when you are looking at a used car ask the dealer for a Carfax report. If he will not give you one for free (we give you one for free if you ask) go get one yourself. Think of the Carfax like a diagnostic tool that your doctor has.  It will indicate that there MAY be a problem but not catch everything. It is pretty good at indicating title problems and car accidents that the vehicle might have been involved in but I have found that it might not be totally 100% accurate all of the time. I would depend on it to indicate problems that the vehicle is known to have, but I would not depend on to say that the car is totally problem free. Think of it this way, the stress test that your doctor has you go through will tell you a lot but not guarantee your health.

Another tool you have is all the places online that you now can get used car values. My favorite is Kelly Blue Book (KBB.com). You can go to KBB and pretty much get a range of values on the car you are trading in and the used car you are going to buy. There are lots of other sites too but I think KBB is very easy to use.

Another thing you have in your corner is the Used Car Lemon Law, it will tell you what rights you are entitled to when you buy a used vehicle in NY. A dealer can not sell you a car "as is" in New York if it is over a certain value and under a certain mileage. The major systems must work properly and there is a different guarantee period depending on the miles on the odometer at the time of purchase.

You can go to the NY State Attorney General's site or simply go to:


Please read the law before you buy. You can see for yourself the dealer's responsibility and your rights as a consumer. Some advice here.................IF you buy a vehicle from a private individual this does not apply!

Some more advice and I will tell you in a story. I had a local customer come to my dealership a short while ago with a warranty problem on her car that she just bought from a dealer quite a few miles from us. (Personally I would not have the nerve to go buy something one place then bring it to another when you find it was defective, but go figure.) She was upset that we did not want to handle her warranty complaint. The fact is it was in her interest and ours for us not to touch the car. Why? The Lemon Law indicates that you must bring the car back to the SELLING DEALER in order to exercise your rights. Once another shop touches the car the selling dealer is "off the hook"! The dealer that sold her the car is notorious for not prepping his cars well or taking care of his customers after the sale. He knows full well that once another dealer touches the vehicle his responsibility ends! He actually tells the customer if they have a problem to take their car to their local dealer. It is cheaper for him to do that than to actually fix the car himself or have well paid mechanics and take the time to put a warranty claim in to the manufacturer!

I guess there are Lemon Cars and Lemon Dealers.....................    


Here in New York there is no such thing as an "AS IS" used vehicle unless it has over 100,000 miles or cost under $1,500. All others, by law, have to be covered under the State's "Lemon Law" warranty.

Also there is a "serviceability" clause mandated by the State in our contracts meaning that the vehicle has to be safe, no matter what, regardless of the "Lemon Law" provisions.

You may want to check with the your State Attorney General to see what your rights are.

Mar 4, 2013 5:01 pm
- wnydealer@aol.com

Next time you want to buy a car contact me. I am not trying to sell you a car, I just hate seeing people getting ripped off. There is no reason for it. Perhaps I can go over the figures for you or give you some advice.

Also, the BBB is a good place to start but I bet your Attorney General is like ours and has interns at his local office to help you with complaints like yours. The BBB has no "teeth" the AG is feared by dealers!

Mar 11, 2013 8:03 pm
- wnydealer@aol.com

How are you making out? I am curious and concerned- Dom

May 27, 2013 3:33 pm
- wnydealer@aol.com