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State officials offer tips on buying a car without getting fleeced

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Ford trucks are shown for sale on a car lot in Carlsbad, California March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Ford trucks are shown for sale on a car lot in Carlsbad, California March 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake

WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) - State officials want you to be safe when picking out a used car and are offering some tips.

Michael Domke from the Department of Motor Vehicles says there's some easy tips to follow when you're picking out a car, and the best one is to simply do your research. "Whether that's going online to find out your budget, what you can afford and what you're looking for, and then stick to that plan."

Domke says every car that's on sale in a lot is required to have the Buyers Guide sheet posted to the window. "Make sure you know what's written as a price, because it's illegal to sell a vehicle for a price that higher than what's on the buyer's guide, second, check the odometer if it's listed and make sure it's relatively close to what is displayed on the vehicle itself." In addition make sure to ask for the vehicle's inspection report. Dealers are required to inspect the vehicles they intend to sell.

If you are going to buy a car from someone that isn't a dealer, make sure you know what you're doing. Domke says buying from a private party means the state can't help you if something goes wrong. "That's one of the advantages you have for buying from a dealer in wisconsin. There's safeguards that are put in place both in statute and policy that give a lot of protections to the consumer. By buying private party, it really is buying at your own risk." Domke says you should get a vehicle inspected before putting money into the hands of the seller.

ON THE WEB: http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/safety/consumer/car/wisebuys.htm

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