FTC "AS IS" Document

In 1985, the Federal Trade Commission mandated that the FTC's "Buyers Guide" (commonly referred to as the "AS IS" document) be part of any dealer's sales contract when selling a used vehicle. This "AS-IS" document can be the used car buyer's worst nightmare.

FTC AS-IS documentConsumer groups created the Buyers Guide to help protect the general public from the scams utilized by the used car industry. However, once submitted, lobbyists and special interest groups quickly transformed consumer protection rights into a document that benefits the used car dealers. The AS-IS document must be filled out and displayed on every vehicle for sale on a used car lot.

The "AS IS" document has two boxes for the Dealer to check, either the "AS IS-NO WARRANTY" or the "WARRANTY" box.

If the "AS IS-NO WARRANTY" box is checked, the Buyer owns the vehicle even if it breaks in half on the way home.

If the "WARRANTY" box is checked, most Buyers assume that the entire car is protected. However, the used car dealer must state what items the Dealer will warranty and for what duration of time or miles on the AS-IS document. Every dealers' warranty is different. Most dealers' warranties only cover a limited number of parts. The buyer must understand the warranty before purchase. A dealer's warranty can be worthless for the buyer. For example, the warranty might only cover the rearview mirror from falling off the windshield for one year.

Many buyers don't read the "AS-IS" document until there is a problem. The bottom of this document states: "The buyer will pay all costs for any repairs incurred after the sale. The dealer assumes no responsibly for any repairs regardless of any oral statements made about the vehicle".

Many buyers mistakenly assume there is some automatic 3-day, 72-hour take-back period, 30-day warranty, or used car Lemon Law. There are none of these. This is a classic example of "Buyer Beware." Dealers who knowingly sell bad cars can to hide behind the "AS IS" document: once you buy it - it's yours. A high-pressure salesperson can talk most buyers out of their right to have a professional unbiased inspection. The "AS IS" document protects the Dealer, not the Buyer. However, the buyer has the right to have the vehicle professionally inspected before purchase.

(Any remaining manufacturer's warranty is separate from the dealer's "AS-IS Warranty.")

You cannot negotiate your best deal until you know the EXACT condition of every component and system.