Used Car Buying General Information

How to Verify a Used Car Dealer License


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Individuals who sell used cars, even a small number of used cars each year, will need to have a used car dealer license. Each state has its own dealer license requirements. Unless you are purchasing your car from a used car dealer lot, it is a good idea to ensure the individual has a used car license. This way you can be certain that there should be no issues with the vehicle and they will be held responsible. Individuals who do not hold a license may not be selling you a legal vehicle.

1. Required Information

In order to look up if an individual or dealer has a license, it is necessary to have the person’s name, license number, business name and city or county were they are located. While it is not necessary to have all of this information, the more you have, the quicker it will be to find and verify the license.

2. Online

Most state governments make it possible to search for licenses online. For instance, in CA it is possible to go to the Department of Consumer Affairs website and perform a search for the license. It is possible to find the license based on the location or person’s name. The less information you have, the longer it will take to sort through all of the results.

3. Type of License

When verifying licenses, it is important to read what type of license it is. There are several different types of licenses and only some of them allow for selling used cars to the public. These types of licenses include: reconditioner license, rebuilder license, wholesaler license and used or new auto dealer. When purchasing a used car, the dealer or dealership must hold a used auto dealer license. The wholesaler license allows the holder to sell cars to a dealer but not to the public.

4. Results

Several results can be found. The license may be clear, which means it is current and completely valid. A license may be cancelled, which means the individual can no longer sell used cars. This is if the license has been delinquent for more than 5 years. A license that is delinquent is one that has expired and has not been renewed. Once the license is delinquent, it can be renewed within 3 years. A denied license can be done so for any number of reasons. A suspended license means that the person cannot sell used cars for the specified time period. A revoked license is one in which it has been canceled normally due to a disciplinary action.

5. Beware of Scams

While most used car dealers will not scam you, there are the odd individuals and companies that will. In particular, online dealerships make it very easy to scam potential customers because they do not have an actual physical dealership to visit. Before making any type of purchase, make sure that the individual has the proper license. If there are any problems, then report them to the correct bureau. If they did not have a license, then you may not be able to get recompensated.

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