12 On Your Side: Buying a used car online? Do your homework or risk being taken

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, July 19, 2013

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- News 12 On Your Side gets calls just about every day from folks who have bought a used car and two weeks later it's headed to the junkyard. But if you take your time and follow some valuable tips, you can avoid getting had.

Number one, get an inspection and a written repair estimate. Experts say this is the most important thing you can do. Be sure to ask a mechanic to complete it before you buy a car.

Get a vehicle history report. While it may not have the car's entire history, it will give you some idea of where it's been and what it's been through, such as accidents and insurance history.

Type in the seller's phone number or copy and paste it into Google. If the number pops up and shows other cars being sold under the same phone number, they may be a "curbstoner" or illegal car dealer.

Also, ask to look at the seller's driver's license and title. Be sure that the name and address matches on both. In addition, get a written agreement and a warranty.

A real dealer should be willing to provide one.

Lastly, do not assume you cannot get financing. Remember, you don't have to settle for a piece of junk and if you already have been taken, you should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau or Consumer Affairs.

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