RIO LINDA (CBS13) — Many don’t realize California has a cooling off period when you buy a used car.
A Rio Linda mom said she found a mechanical problem the day she bought it.
When the dealership refused to take it back, she called Kurtis.
Driving off the lot … Becky Thomas felt something strange.
“There it went,” she said, driving a CBS13 camera crew around the block. “Feel the clunking?”
She said the transmission on the 2002 Volkswagen Jetta was sticking.
“He told us it was a reliable vehicle, and it was great for a family and no problem,” she said.
She said she called the dealership, Moun Auto Sales in Rio Linda as soon as she got home, but she said the company insisted the car was sold “as-is,” and it was her problem now.
“I would love to go down there and confront the guy myself,” she said.
In California, used car dealers are required to offer a two-day return option on cars they sell.
But you have to agree to it before you leave the lot, the law allows dealers to charge you between $75 and $400 for the option, depending on the car’s value.
Plus they can charge a restocking fee of up to $500 also depending on the value, consumer advocate Rosemary Shahan said.
“You can bargain with these guys,” she said.
Shahan has a trick: Tell dealers you won’t buy the car unless they throw in that return option for free.
“People have more leverage than they know,” she said.
Thomas said she didn’t understand how the return option worked when she signed this form saying she didn’t want it.
We contacted Moun Auto’s owner, who refused to comment about possible mechanical problems with the car.
“It’s gonna put me in a world of financial strain,” Thomas said.
Now facing repairs on her new used car, Thomas plans to sue in small claims court.
“I feel completely lied to and betrayed,” she said.
Many dealers who do their own financing — called buy here pay here dealers — are required by law to provide you some kind of warranty. They include at least a 30 day or 1,000-mile warranty.
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