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4 Things to Understand About “The Used Car Rule”

In Kansas, there are several laws in place to protect consumers who buy a used car, only to get less than what the seller promised. Some of these laws are federal regulations while others are state-specific.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Used Car Rule is an example of the former. It applies to all motor vehicles, including but not limited to:

  • Leased cars
  • Demonstration cars
  • Light-duty vans and trucks

The Used Car Rule requires every dealership that sells more than five used vehicles in a 12-month period to post a Buyer’s Guide on each car they sell. The guide, which is part of the sales contract, protects consumers by overriding any conflicting clauses or statements in the regular contract.

Below is a list of details regarding the Used Car Rule that all Kansas consumers need to know.

  1. The Seller Has a Duty to Disclose. Under KSA 50-569 (a)(1)(2) and (3), a used car dealer may not knowingly or intentionally fail to sell a vehicle without disclosing the following:
  • That the car was formerly used as a driver training vehicle or leased/rental car
  • That the vehicle is a factory buyback or was returned to the dealer due to warranty issues

Failing to provide such information in writing, particularly in the form of a Buyer’s Guide, is tantamount to a refusal to disclose.

  1. The Buyer’s Guide Must Contain Specific Content. The purpose of the Guide is to give the consumer the purchasing and warranty information they need to make an informed buying decision. Such details include but are not limited to:
  • The vehicle make, model, model year, and vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • A complete description of the 14 main mechanical and electrical systems in the vehicle along with potential problems that can affect each one
  • Advising the consumer to ask the dealer if pre-purchase inspections are allowed
  • A warning that oral promises may not be enforceable if they are not confirmed in writing
  • Advising the consumer to ask for a Spanish-language version of the Guide if the sale was carried out in Spanish.
  1. Warranty Information Must Be Clear. There are two versions of the Buyer’s Guide. One, which offers an “As Is-No Dealer Warranty,” is not permitted in Kansas. Therefore, all used vehicles offered by Kansas dealers must be of the “Implied Warranties Only” variety.

The warranty section of the Buyer’s Guide must specify:

  • Whether the coverage is full or limited
  • The percentage of costs covered
  • Which systems are covered and for how long
  • Whether or not the manufacturer’s warranty still applies

If the dealer and the consumer negotiate changes in the warranty, the Buyer’s Guide must reflect the changes.

  1. The Buyer’s Guide Must Be in a Prominent Location. The Buyers Guide must be displayed in plain view and in such a way that both sides are visible. Examples of acceptable locations include:
  • On the rear-view mirror inside the car
  • On a side-view mirror outside
  • Under a windshield wiper
  • On a side window

Placing the Guide under the seat, in the trunk, and even in the glove compartment is not acceptable because it is not in plain sight.

If you have purchased a used vehicle, and either did not receive a Buyer’s Guide, or the document you did obtain is of questionable legality, contact consumer protection attorney Bryce Bell at Bell Law today. Dealers that violate the Used Car Rule can be fined up to $40,654 per violation in Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions, and if you suffer any losses as a result of the purchase, Bell Law will aggressively fight to get you the compensation you are entitled to.

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