If you think back to around this time two years ago, you may remember how state lawmakers in Charleston passed an “as-is” law applied to used car sales. If you don’t remember the specifics surrounding it, the passing of the law finally made it lawful for car dealers to sell used cars “as-is,” an option that lawmakers and lobbyists had hoped would have passed when first proposed in the 1980s.
Those who had long opposed the bill’s passing worried that it would disadvantage individuals with little means who had worked long and hard to save up every last cent they had to purchase a vehicle.
Lawmakers opposed to the bill’s passing stalled for years because they argued that it was too risky for a consumer to purchase a used vehicle from a dealer without a warranty that would protect them for at least a short amount of time after the purchase.
What dangers does West Virginia’s “as-is” law pose?
The former West Virginia Senate Bill 543 now allows car dealers to sell you an “as-is” vehicle without any implied warranty when the vehicle meets certain requirements. One is that it must have been in “good working order” for a “reasonable” amount of time before your purchase.
Many consumer advocates argue that the passing of this bill made it possible for consumers to trade in their vehicles and get their hands on an affordable used one.
Some legal analysts argue that the law put consumers in a vulnerable financial state since it allowed for any vehicle that is older than seven years, has over 100,000 miles on it or is being sold for less than $4,000 to be listed for sale “as-is.”
Legal advocates worry that dealers won’t stand behind the cars they sell if they fall into this category. They still worry about it leading to an uptick in lemon cars circulating in the state. This is one of the reasons why attorneys who work with clients who’ve been taken advantage of since this law went into effect on July 1, 2019, argue that consumers are better off buying their cars from private individuals instead of car dealerships.
It might seem like little that you can do to reverse your fate if you weren’t aware of the implications of buying an “as-is” vehicle from a dealer. West Virginia’s consumer protection lemon laws may protect you, though.