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Motor Vehicles: A Buyer's Guide

Purchasing a car, van or other vehicle can be a confusing process, but there are nonetheless some key concepts that can provide the new owner with a substantial amount of protection should a problem arise. The first factor to appreciate is that one's rights differ when purchasing a vehicle from a company as opposed to a private individual.

If purchased from a company or a used car trader, the new owner will not be held liable for any faults that occurred prior to the sale for a period of six months. This is what is colloquially known as a "lemon law" and if found liable, the seller will be found in breach of contract and held financially responsible. However, it is important to realize that it must be proven that such a failure was not a result of neglect or a lack of servicing.

However, a private transaction entails an entirely different paradigm that needs to be appreciated. The aforementioned six month law does not apply in this instance. Rather, any problems that are encountered must be discussed with the previous owner. There is obviously less protection in these instances, however the car must function and appear as it was described prior to sale. Should the condition not be as advertised, the new owner may have a valid claim that he or she was misrepresented and thus possess the legal right to file a complaint.

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