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Top 3 Legal Questions When Buying a Car

By Christopher Coble, Esq. | Last updated on

Outside of buying a house, or a boat, or a houseboat perhaps, buying a car is one of the biggest financial investments we'll make. So it goes without saying that you should take the car buying process seriously and therefore you'll probably have a lot of questions you'll want answered before you finalize the deal.

So here are three of the biggest legal questions about buying a car, from our archives:

1. Can I Get My Deposit Back on a New or Used Car?

Feeling a tinge of buyer's remorse? This is probably an answer you'll want before you sign on the dotted line, but whether you can actually get a deposit on a car back will generally depend on who you're buying the car from, the kind of deal you made, and, possibly, how badly you want the deposit back. Consider whether a deposit is actually necessary and be sure to read any paperwork involved in the deposit carefully before signing or handing over any money.

If you just purchased the car, you might be wondering if you can just drive it off the lot with plates or identification tags from the dealership. State laws on dealer plates vary significantly, but most states only allow dealer license plates to be used by an owner, officer, or employee of the dealership, or by a customer that is test driving the car, and not for rented or leased vehicles. Statutes can also vary when it comes to how long dealer plates can remain on a newly purchased vehicle.

3. Which Are the Most Ticketed Cars?

Another question it's good to have the answer to before heading car shopping. According to Forbes, you may want to avoid a Mercedes-Benz or a Hummer, but Toyota Camrys were high on the list as well.

Of course, no matter what you buy you should obey all traffic, registration, and insurance laws. And if you need help buying a car or with a sketchy car-buying experience, talk to a local attorney.

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