Consumers have several important protections for new car purchases.
The Federal Trade Commission Web site offers guidance for purchasing a new car, trade-ins, financing, and service contracts. State governments provide buyers assistance with problems such as false advertising, predatory auto lending, and lemon laws.
Car buyers can also contact resources such as Consumer Reports magazine, rating guides, and associations such as the Direct Marketing Association and the Better Business Bureau for information about manufacturers, vehicles, and dealers.
A not-so-new car
After a buyer purchased a vehicle from a dealership that represented it as new, she discovered the car had been previously owned. When she began to experience trouble with it, she attempted to take the car back. The dealership threatened her, relocated the disabled car to a tow-away zone, and laughed in her face. Her attorney sued for fraud and violations of a state consumer protection act. A jury awarded the victim an award a dozen times the vehicle cost, plus punitive damages.