Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Arizona Car Buying Awareness

Posted by Jay L. Ciulla | May 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

Buying a car is a huge financial investment. It is important that buyers and sellers alike do their due diligence for any transaction. Schemes are all around where criminals are looking to make a quick buck by defrauding innocent buyers and sellers. Scams can be simple or elaborate. You make be dealing with a seller rolling back the odometer. There could be a sophisticated schemer who pays cash for a vehicle to have a title clear of financial liens, then obtains a duplicate title with which they receive a title loan, and finally sell the cleared title with the vehicle to an unsuspecting buyer. The innocent buyer is then left unable to properly title or register the vehicle until the lien is paid off or the lien holder may just repossess the vehicle. Sellers can be scammed by people paying cash using counterfeit money or a check from a bogus bank account. A seller could allow a buyer to test drive the vehicle alone and they never return. ADOT issued a list of precautions for buyers and sellers to take before making a transaction so innocent people do not become the victim of fraud. These tips include:

For a buyer:

  • Make sure you are in a safe location for any transaction.
  • Confirm all the information on documents and do not trust verbal statements.
  • Verify the dealer is in fact the owner of the vehicle. If participating in a private sale ask for a photo ID to verify the seller is in fact the legal owner of the vehicle and is named on the current dated title.
  • Look for any potential alterations to the vehicle.
  • Ensure there is nothing on the title indicating the vehicle is a salvage title or nonrepairable.
  • Cross-reference the odometer reading with what is listed on the back of the title and the vehicle repair and maintenance reports.
  • Cross-reference the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the title with that on the vehicle dashboard as well as the sticker located in the driver's side door jamb.
  • Make the payment transfer at a financial institution.

For Sellers

  • Make sure you are in a safe location for any transaction.
  • Confirm all the information on documents and do not trust verbal statements.
  • Make the payment transfer at a financial institution. Accept any cash payment with caution.
  • Beware of buyers who want to hurry along a deal and act anxious or asked too few questions.

The MVD can be used to check vehicle documents and has Lien Motor Vehicle Inquiry at their website, You can conduct a VIN check online. Buyers need to be aware of their consumer rights. Arizona's Motor Vehicle Warranties Law under A.R.S. 44-1261 through 1267, often referred to as Arizona Used Car Lemon Laws, are in place to protect consumers purchasing at licensed dealerships but to not cover private part transaction. It is best that you do your research proceed with absolute caution.

Jay Ciulla is a personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.

About the Author

Jay L. Ciulla

Jay L. Ciulla is a native of Phoenix, Arizona. Since 1997, he has been helping injured injured people with their legal issues. He has extensive litigation and trial experience and has represented clients in more than one hundred trials.


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