Understanding “as is” vehicle purchases

Trust me!

Trust me!

What does it mean when a vehicle is sold “as is”?


It means that the transaction occurs for the vehicle in whatever condition it is in at the moment of the sale. In other words, the buyer is legally accepting the responsibility for any and all repairs needed after the transaction closes. The buyer is accepting the vehicle with all of its known and unknown problems. When buying used vehicles in this situation, the buyer should take extra precaution to examine and check the background information to find the best used vehicle to buy. If anything wrong with the vehicle is discovered after the purchase, it is the buyer’s responsibility, unless there was an instance of fraud in the deal.


The good news is that the used vehicle dealer must clearly state that a vehicle is being sold “as is”. Dealers state this on the Buyer’s Guide by checking a box labeled “As Is- No Warranty”. The government has set up regulations to protect consumers from unknowingly buying a vehicle that is “as is”; however, once the vehicle is purchased it most likely cannot be returned. There are some exceptions and modifications set up by the Attorney General for “as is” vehicles. If on the Buyer’s Guide the box is checked, and the dealer promises to repair or cancel a sale if there are any problems, then make sure that promise is written in the Buyer’s Guide. Buyers should be wary if the vehicle is marked “as is”.


The bad news is for individuals purchasing a used car from a private party.  Often there is no warranty and the car is always sold “as is”. That is why it is important to do proper research before buying a used vehicle, like running a CARFAX Vehicle History Report to discover any unknown issues. Doing your homework on how to buy a used vehicle “as is” will give you more confidence when shopping. Once the vehicle is purchased there is no option to return it at any time unless it has been stated in the contract before purchasing the vehicle. Be aware that once an “as is” vehicle is purchased, that vehicle becomes the owner’s problem.


PaySAFE’s  online escrow service provides buyers and seller the ability to outline all reps and warranty involved in the transaction.  Make sure the vehicle is described in detail.  PaySAFE also allows you to upload CARFAX reports or independent inspections reports to verify the vehicle condition. Before deciding to buy a vehicle and settling on a purchase price, think about the price of the vehicle and consider that there may be imminent repairs. For instance, a vehicle’s frame is important to its longevity, and if a vehicle has structural damage it is very difficult for a buyer to get that information without doing research outside of the dealership.

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