Q. What is a Buyer’s Guide?

A. The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Used Car Rule requires dealers to post a Buyers Guide in every used car they offer for sale. This includes light-duty vans, light-duty trucks, demonstrators, and program cars.

Demonstrators are new cars that have not been owned, leased, or used as rentals, but have been driven by dealer staff. Program cars are low-mileage, current-model-year vehicles returned from short-term leases or rentals.

Buyers Guides do not have to be posted on motorcycles and most recreational vehicles. Anyone who sells less than six cars a year doesn’t have to post a Buyers Guide.

The Buyers Guide must tell you:

-whether the vehicle is being sold “as is” or with a warranty;
-what percentage of the repair costs a dealer will pay under the warranty;
-that spoken promises are difficult to enforce
-to get all promises in writing;
-to keep the Buyers Guide for reference after the sale;
-the major mechanical and electrical systems on the car, including some of the major problems you should look out for; and
-to ask to have the car inspected by an independent mechanic before you buy.

When you buy a used car from a dealer, get the original Buyers Guide that was posted in the vehicle, or a copy. The Guide must reflect any negotiated changes in warranty coverage.

It also becomes part of your sales contract and overrides any contrary provisions. For example, if the Buyers Guide says the car comes with a warranty and the contract says the car is sold “as is,” the dealer must give you the warranty described in the Guide.

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