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When buying a used car, 'as is' means 'as is'

7:26 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Protests, police reports, surveillance video. You would think we're talking about an action movie ... but really, it's just buying a used car in Florida.  

Hundreds of dissatisfied customers like Cindy Senesack wrote to First Coast News about their bad experiences at the used car lots in town.

"This is absolutely a scam and a scheme, they take advantage of people like myself, who are down on their luck," Senesack said.

The horror stories are well-documented online, from repossessions to shady financing, to cars catching on fire when they leave the lot.

"We started having these problems with it not even a week after having the truck," said Rebecca Williams.

Williams said she bought a used truck for $16,000 and before she made her first payment, it needed repairs to the tune of $7,000 dollars.

"I am so frustrated."

But when it comes down to it, people in the market for used cars have very little legal protection in the state.

"If you buy a used car that does not come with a warranty, it's completely a gamble on your part," said Attorney Eric Friday.

Friday said if someone agrees to purchase the car AS IS, that's exactly what the dealer means.

"Just because the car breaks down the day after you drive it off the lot does not mean the seller of the car did anything wrong," Friday said.

A car salesman at Motor Maxx who did not want to talk on camera, told First Coast News the business was like the wild west, and they have to call police for their own protection from irate customers.

But even businesses who have dozens of DMV complaints filed against them and an F rating with the Better Business Bureau remain open, because when a buying a used car in Florida, the law is on their side.

"As is means as is," Friday said.

First Coast News

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