back to articles | December 31, 2018 | Dale Peterson

Categories: Tips & Insights For Car Buying Buying & Selling Cars

Private Auto Sales

Buying a Used Car in a Private Auto Sale

Private auto sales, also known as person-to-person sales, is the process of buying a car or vehicle from an individual, or third party, instead of from a auto dealer or broker.

Private Auto Sales: Proceed with Caution!

You may see ads in newspapers, on bulletin boards, or even written on the car. Buying a car in a private auto sale can be very different from buying a car from a dealer.

Private auto sales generally are not covered by the Used Car Rule and don't have to use the Buyers Guide. However, you can use the Guide's list of an auto's major systems as a shopping tool. You also can ask the seller if you can have the vehicle inspected by your mechanic.

Private Auto Sales: Buying a Car "As-Is"

Private auto sales usually are not covered by the "implied warranties" of state law. That means a private sale probably will be on an "as is" basis, unless your purchase agreement with the seller specifically states otherwise. If you have a written contract, the seller must live up to the promises stated in the contract. A private sale doesn't mean the car is not covered by a manufacturer's warranty or a separately purchased service contract. However, warranties and service contracts may not be transferable, and other limits or costs may apply. Before you buy the auto, ask to review its warranty or service contract.

Many states do not require individuals involved in private auto sales to ensure that their autos will pass state inspection or carry a minimum warranty before they offer them for sale. Ask your local consumer protection agency about the requirements in your state.

Private Auto Sales: Financing

When buying an auto from an individual in a private auto sale, financing can sometimes be a problem. At, we have taken steps to make getting a person-to-person loan for use in private auto sales of used cars much easier. To get a loan for a private auto sale, so you can buy a car from an individual, simply apply online. Your person to person loan takes just minutes and lets you choose from up to four offers from lenders.