Buying a used car isn’t like buying anything else. If you pick up a sweater at the store, then bring it home and decide the color is all wrong, you can return it and get your money back. For the vast majority of used car purchases, though — which are much more important and expensive — you don’t have that luxury. Once you decide to buy the used car, you typically can’t take it back to the dealer to get your money back. A select few certified used programs make an exception to that policy, though, which is a good advantage if you can find it.
HARD TO FIND
Return or exchange policies are extremely rare in the automotive industry. Only a few brands offer them — including Mercedes-Benz, Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Acura — but they aren’t necessarily offered on every single certified used car or at every dealership.
Like the certification process itself, each brand sets its own rules about which cars can be exchanged and for what period of time, typically three to seven days. They also have mileage limits.
If you’re thinking about buying a car with a return policy, make sure you know all the rules and limitations.
EXTENDED TEST DRIVES
Since most brands don’t offer an exchange or return option, the best thing to do is make absolutely sure that the car is the right one for you.
And what better way to do that than with an extended test drive?
See how much time the dealer will allow you to spend with the used car before you settle on your purchase. Ideally, you’ll want to do more than the typical five-minute test drive around the block.
Some dealers have been known to let their most trusted customers keep a used car for an afternoon, or even overnight, to evaluate it. This is rare, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, especially if you’ve already got a good relationship with the dealer.