Do you feel more comfortable patronizing a big business? You hope that corporate oversight and consistent business practices will prevent anything really bad from happening to you.

Car dealerships have taken advantage of this. Several companies offering used cars have opened up huge chains that span the country. Surely if a business is that big, it will prevent them from doing anything too scandalous, right?

Unfortunately that’s not the case. Sometimes, it just leads to funny instances such as this:

Used Ford pickup used by terrorists

Texas plumber’s Ford truck ends up with terrorists

AutoNation forgot to properly prepare a car for sale. As a result, a plumber in Houston was harassed for assisting terrorists. All he had done was trade in a car.

In a case that I had previously worked on, CarMax had performed major repairs on a vehicle prior to selling it to my client. When those same problems surfaced again while my client was driving the vehicle, CarMax acted bewildered, repeatedly asserting that the vehicle had passed their “rigorous” inspection.

20/20 recently investigated CarMax and their policies. 20/20 found that CarMax did not make clear disclosures about the history and repair status of vehicles. They were selling cars that had outstanding safety recalls from their manufacturers or had severe accidents in their history without informing the purchasers of this.

Could a corner car lot do this too? Certainly. But a buyer MUST remember that the size of the dealership is no guarantee of protection. You have to protect yourself in every car purchase. Get all the representations made in writing. Get the car inspected. Check the history.

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Comments (2)

  • VC on December 19, 2014 at 7:31 AM

    Some car dealerships advertise a free Carfax report. Is that a good sign? Is the report the dealership gives reasonably likely to be reliable? Reply

  • Kevin Faulk on December 19, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    That can be a good sign, but it's not foolproof. One trick that car dealers will use in those instances is to give you an older report which doesn't yet contain a listing of a recent accident. So, be sure to check the date of the report that they give you. You should even consider pulling your own report to double check. Reply

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