Buyer’s Guide: Factors to Consider!

Buyers Guide

Buyer’s Guide in California is an essential document required by law for any car dealership considering the sale of a used car, as it includes several key pieces of information to show specific disclosures related to warranties that may or may not be included as part of the sale of the vehicle. The Buyers Guide can also indicate the availability of an optional service contract for that specific vehicle.

The Buyers Guide is designed for and should include Warranty Information regarding the vehicle. The Buyers Guide should indicate whether the car is being sold “as-is” or with a dealer warranty. Remember: dealer warranties and service contracts are different! Service contracts are optional products that are available for the customer to purchase whereas a dealer warranty comes with the purchase of the vehicle at no additional cost. If there is a dealer warranty, the Buyers Guide should specify what is covered, the duration of the coverage, and any limitations or exclusions.

Wondering what differentiates selling a vehicle “as-is” vs. selling one with “dealer warranty”?

  • Selling a car “as-is” essentially means that the seller is not providing any warranties for the vehicle in case there are mechanical failures after the sale, the buyer is taking full responsibility for the vehicle after the sale, and the seller is not liable for any defects or mechanical issues that may arise after the sale. Essentially, when a car is sold “as-is,” the buyer assumes most risks associated with the vehicle post-sale. Remember, the dealer is still obligated to make disclosures regarding the condition and prior history of the vehicle as required by law.
  • Selling a car with a warranty means that the seller is providing certain protections to the consumer regarding the vehicle for a certain period as outlined in the Buyer’s Guide. The warranty typically covers certain repairs that may become necessary during that period, and the seller is responsible for fixing all or some of them. The specifics of the warranty, such as the coverage period and what repairs are covered, can vary depending on what is advertised in the Buyers Guide.

It’s important to note that California law requires used car dealers to provide a warranty on vehicles they sell if the dealership is considered to be a Buy Here Pay Here dealership under the definition of the law. In those cases, the warranty must be in writing and cover specific components, such as the engine and transmission, for a minimum time frame and/or for a certain number of miles post-sale. If you have additional questions about this topic, make sure to seek advice from an experienced auto law attorney.