12 On Your Side: Woman says used car caught fire after leaving lot

By: Jeorme Collins Email
By: Jeorme Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / October 11, 2013

Stanley paid nearly $1,300 dollars for a 2000 Mercury Cougar. "This car hasn't run since I got the vehicle. It broke down coming off the lot," says Stanley.

It was supposed to be a gift for her teenage son. "I called them back immediately they told me to replace the alternator that's what I did," says Stanley. But days later "It caught on fire and now I'm out of almost $1300," says Stanley.

She grabbed the closest thing she could find, a bag of grits to douse the flames and save the car from burning. "If my son would have been in this car it could have been serious because he's that young and would not have known what to do. He might have thrown water on it," says Stanley.

She says the lot where she bought the car has been no help to her. "They don't have any answers for me except the car was bought "as-is."

The Better Business Bureau says when you buy a car "as-is" you should keep in mind a few things including; you do not have a cancellation period, you accept the vehicle in the condition you bought it and no dealer is required to refund your money or exchange the vehicle if it becomes inoperable after you leave the lot.

"We did test drive the vehicle. We did drive it and it did run around the corner and back," says Stanley. And she says she trusted the ad she read about the car. "All it said was it needed a front bumper. No major damage and in great running condition," says Stanley.

She says if she could do it all over again it would be different.

"Just take a man with you maybe to check on the vehicle," says Stanley. So, lemon laws only apply to new vehicles and never used cars.

Quality Automotive in North Augusta says if you are looking to buy a used car, you should take it for an extensive test drive.

And you should find an independent mechanic who can complete a full inspection. If a car salesperson tells you "no" it may suggest they have something to hide.

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