Don't buy a vehicle in Missouri without examining and keeping copies of several critical documents. This guide will tell you what documents to look at and what to look for.
Make Sure You Get a Title - And Use it to Investigate the Vehicle
In Missouri, it is illegal to sell a vehicle without exchanging the title at the time of sale. Ask to see the title and use it to your advantage. I have written extensively on how to do that on my website, which is linked below. You should purchase a vehicle history report from a NMVTIS reporter and compare it to the title.
Get an Inspection Ticket
The seller, at his expense, must get the vehicle inspected prior to sale in Missouri. You will need this inspection ticket to get the vehicle registered. Look at the inspection ticket and insure that the vehicle has passed. Additionally, determine who performed the inspection. Was it the dealer or someone else?
Get the Buyer's Guide
The buyer's guide is the window sticker that states whether the vehicle comes with a warranty or is "as is." Federal law mandates the buyer's guide be posted in the window of a vehicle for sale at a dealership. The buyer must receive the buyer's guide at the time of sale.
Get a Copy of Every Document You Sign, and Ensure Every Blank is Filled In
It is illegal for a dealership to leave blank spaces on certain critical documents. Do not allow a dealership to leave the spaces blank, because many dealerships will fill the blanks in after the fact.
If You Are Turned Down For Financing, Demand That the Dealership/Financier Put It in Writing
Federal law requires that people turned down for financing receive a letter stating why. It is a common scam for dealers to sell a car to a buyer and then call the buyer back a week or even a month later saying, "You have to bring the car back because the financing fell through." This is called a Yo Yo sale and it is a scam. I've written about Yo Yo sales extensively, and the link is below. If a dealer tells you that there is any problem with financing, make them put it in writing.
Many dealers require buyers to sign arbitration agreements. Ask the dealer if you have to sign the arbitration agreement. These agreements are not designed to help consumers and when enforced, destroy many rights.
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