Buying a used vehicle is a trickier prospect than buying a new one.
New cars come with more built-in protections (express warranties) and Idaho laws regarding new cars are stricter.
But, while it’s always riskier to buy used, especially in Idaho which has minimal laws protecting used car buyers, there are some ways to get around Idaho’s “as is” used car policy if you’ve gotten a real clunker.
Idaho Used Car Warranty Laws
Idaho does not require used cars to come with warranties. All used cars in the state may be sold as-is as long as the “as is – no warranty” status of the vehicle is clearly stated and the dealer discloses all defects with the car (in writing) to the buyer prior to signing the contract.
For vehicles not sold “as is,” the state has implied warranty laws which apply to all used vehicles.
The first implied warranty is the merchantability warranty.
This warranty dictates that a vehicle must be of minimally adequate quality and fit for the normal use of a car.
Basically, operational and safe to drive on roads.
The second implied warranty is the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose.
This warranty dictates that a vehicle must be useful for the purpose for which you purchase it, if the seller is aware of that purpose.
If you need a vehicle that can tow a boat, for instance, and ask for a vehicle with enough towing capacity, it’s the seller’s responsibility to know the details of the product he or she is selling you.
If the seller sells you a vehicle with too low of a towing capacity, you may have recourse under the law.
Of course, you’ll have to be able to prove the seller sold you a vehicle outside the scope of what you requested.
While these warranties apply to all used vehicles sold in the state, the state does not specify a minimum length of time for merchantability.
The law only dictates that a used car be of minimally adequate quality and fit for the normal use of a car at the time of sale.
The car can break down the next day, and as long as it was of minimally adequate quality at the time of purchase, you will likely have no recourse.
Though, if your used car breaks down a day after purchase, we recommend filing a complaint with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
Idaho Used Car Return Laws
There is no right to return a used car in Idaho.
Even if a used vehicle comes with a dealer warranty and the dealer cannot fix a problem covered by that warranty, the dealer is under no obligation to take the car back.
However, if the dealer does fail to comply with their warranty, you can seek justice under the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (as explained below).
Or, if you believe the dealer failed to disclose an issue with the vehicle or made deceptive statements about the vehicle’s condition, you can, once again, file a complaint with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.
Used Car Warranty & Car Return General FAQ
To further your understanding of used car warranties and return rules here are some answers to frequently asked questions.
Do used cars come with warranties?
Many do, but not all.
And in most states, used cars have no requirement to be warrantied.
Used cars may be sold either with a warranty attached or “as is.”
Those with warranties may also have very limited warranties, with either a short time/mileage window or only a few parts of the car that are covered.
All this said, dealerships often offer warranties as incentives to buy their pre-owned vehicles.
And, if they don’t, you can certainly negotiate one into your purchase contract.
Does an express manufacturer’s car warranty transfer to a new owner?
Generally speaking, yes, an express manufacturer’s warranty transfers to a car’s new owner as long as the warranty is still in effect (though, the rules or coverage period of the warranty may change).
But this isn’t always the case.
If a vehicle’s warranty does not transfer, this should be clearly spelled out in the vehicle’s paperwork, and the seller is also required to tell you.
Do extended vehicle service plans count as warranties?
Yes, in most cases, service contracts are considered a form of warranty under the law.
However, they’re unlikely to do you much good if real issues arise.
Service contracts typically don’t provide much more than general maintenance, so if your car breaks down it is unlikely the dealer will have a duty to repair it.
However, if they refuse to do your oil change, rotate your tires, or anything else actually included in your service plan, you can certainly seek justice under warranty laws.
Is there a federal law that deals with used car warranties?
Yes. In a way.
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act applies to all warranties, regardless of whether those warranties are attached to new or used products.
The law is not specific to vehicles, but can be used to enforce any warranty on a used vehicle.
What’s in the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (as it applies to vehicles)?
The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act includes several key points that pertain to vehicle warranties.
These points are:
- No product is required to have a warranty (and many used cars don’t).
- The terms of a warranty must be fully disclosed in simple, understandable language.
- Any ambiguity in the language of a warranty is held against the warrantor (in this case, the manufacturer or dealer).
- Warrantors cannot require only branded parts be used with their products for a warranty to remain valid (Ford can’t require only Ford parts be used on your vehicle).
- Service contracts must follow these same rules.
Basically, if you feel like you’ve been duped by a warranty, you may have a case under the Magnuson-Moss Act.
And if your used vehicle does come with a warranty, the dealer/manufacturer must repair any defect for free and to satisfactory condition, or you can seek justice under your local (or the federal) warranty law.
What about the Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off rule?
The FTC’s 3-day cooling-off rule or “right to cancel” does not apply to vehicles.
For more on the FTC’s rule and how (and why) it doesn’t apply to vehicle sales, see Does The FTC’s 3-Day Right To Cancel Apply To Car Purchases?