Looking to buy your car from craigslist? It does provide stress-free negotiations and car salespeople over-haggling. This, however, does not afford you unlike buying from a dealer or directly from the manufacturer, enough protection against buying used cars that may be misrepresented as being in great condition, quality or standard. Only a few states within the U.S have set in place legal laws providing protection for buyers when dealing with private auto sellers. In other states, you buy a vehicle “as is” meaning whatever condition you meet the car after you buy it becomes yours to deal with too. We have some tips and tricks for you on how to avoid getting stuck with a lemon!

Rules to follow:

Document it always. Even if its a promise of the condition of the car on the whole or particular part, print out the Craigslist ad before contacting the buyer. Also pay attention to listings with promises of new or recently repaired part and keep the evidence as well as all and we do mean “ALL” correspondence in writing.

Ask important questions.  Before going to inspect the car, ask the seller questions like-  has there been any recent repairs? On what part of the car? Request a copy of receipt for proof. Any other issue with the car? Ask for the VehicleIdentificationNumber, do an online check using CarFax. Remember to document everything in case you need to reference them.

Do a test drive. The seller may not be comfortable allowing this for various reasons, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Be careful not to damage the car during the test-drive though.

Have a professional mechanic preferably of your choosing not the sellers inspect the car. This is to avoid the seller fudging information while being buddys with the seller. If there is any issues with the car, ask the mechanic to itemize their findings on the inspection report and use it in negotiating. It may cost you the inspection bill but it is money well-spent.

Collect a receipt. Keep it to prove what you paid, when you paid it, who you paid to and to verify the cars condition. Make sure both you and the seller signs and dates the receipt.

Also, don’t pay for a private sale in cash if you can help it because there is no way to track how much cash Rather, pay in a way that’s easy to track, like PayPal or by check so there is evident proof other than your words.