May 02, 2023

Purchasing a manufacturer buyback vehicle

Dear Consumer Ed:

Does a manufacturer buyback car have a branded title for the life of the vehicle? I’m considering purchasing a 2019 car that was bought back by the manufacturer and resold with a warranty. The warranty has now expired, and the car is for resale at a used car lot. Am I crazy to consider buying this car?

Consumer Ed says:

A buyback vehicle is a commonly used term for a vehicle that was reacquired by a manufacturer under a state lemon law. Georgia’s Lemon Law covers new motor vehicles that are sold or leased in Georgia or to Georgia consumers. When consumers prevail under Georgia’s Lemon Law, they may choose to have the manufacturer “buy back” the defective vehicle by either repurchasing or replacing it.

If, after reacquiring the vehicle, the manufacturer repairs the defect, the vehicle may then be sold or leased. In that case, the manufacturer would first be required by Georgia law to warranty the repair of the defect. This warranty benefits the first consumer to purchase or lease the vehicle after the manufacturer repairs the defect, and it cannot be transferred to any subsequent purchaser or lessee. If the defect occurs again within 12 months or 12,000 miles of the first purchase or lease of the reacquired vehicle, (whichever occurs first), the defect must be repaired under the manufacturer’s warranty.

A reacquired vehicle that was originally purchased or leased and registered in Georgia will not have a branded title. On the other hand, vehicles coming into Georgia from another state may have titles that have been branded in some other fashion under that state’s laws. However, once that out-of-state vehicle is retitled in Georgia, the Georgia title will have no “buyback” branding.

In Georgia, the first person to purchase or lease a reacquired vehicle following the manufacturer’s repair of the defect would be aware that the car was a reacquired vehicle because the dealership would be required by law to give the buyer or lessee a written notice called the Georgia Lemon Law Notice for Reacquired Vehicles, which would include the 12 month/12,000-mile warranty. However, subsequent purchasers or lessees of the vehicle might only learn that the vehicle had been reacquired if they ran a vehicle history report, such as AutoCheck or CarFax.

As to whether or not it’s wise to purchase a reacquired vehicle, you should always be vigilant when purchasing a used vehicle. When considering a reacquired vehicle, remember that once the warranty for the repaired defect has expired, or if you are not the first consumer to purchase or lease the vehicle after the manufacturer repaired the defect, any repairs will be your responsibility. It is always a good idea to have a trusted mechanic that is not affiliated with the dealer selling the car do a thorough inspection of any used vehicle before signing anything or paying money.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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