Buyer Beware! There are tons of scam artists out there. It doesn’t matter whether you are buying from a dealer, the Internet or an individual. Get a Carfax report http://www.carfax.com using the vehicle’s VIN. This will tell you the car’s history: Whether or not it’s been in an accident, if it was ever stolen, who owns the title and a lot more. Don’t buy a car if you don’t have this report, or if a dealer won’t give it to you. If you are buying a car directly from an individual, purchase this report yourself if the owner doesn’t already have one. If you’re buying a car privately make sure to take it to a trusted mechanic to thoroughly check out the vehicle before closing the deal.
If you’re buying from a car dealer, check out the dealer with the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General, or local consumer protection agency. A factory-certified car will be more expensive, but it comes with a warrantee. Check out the return policy. Dealers are not required to provide a warrantee, but reputable ones will offer you at least something, although it might be very limited.
Check out these buying tips from the Federal Trade Commission: