Remember the bright yellow 2010 Chevy Aveo that I was going to look so good in as I drove down the palm-lined streets of Phoenix? The salesman assured me it was a one-owner, having been the pride and joy of a little old lady who only drove it on Sundays and holidays - or some such nonsense. He even volunteered that he had sold the car to the old lady to begin with, and she had recently shown up to trade it in on a newer model. There would be no problem with the little Aveo, he assured me, and if there was, I could return it under the terms of the Arizona lemon law.
I returned to that lot yesterday morning ready to do the deed. We took the spiffy little car for a spin around the block, and it drove beautifully. Then we returned to the office where he and his manager quickly tried to get me to sign papers - but I hesitated and asked to see the Car Fax report.
It was as though I had asked to see sex tapes of their wives or parents. They looked stunned and appalled for a few beats, then quickly went back to the importance of getting things signed before someone else swept in and bought my Aveo.
The Car Fax, please!
Finally, and reluctantly, they relented and gave me the report of the car's history. The little old lady turned out to have been not one - but two - car rental agencies from two different states. It had a factory recall that had never been honored, and the agency that I was dealing with had bought it at an auction.
Little old lady, indeed!
Postscript: Yesterday I visited a major Chevrolet agency where I bought a 2005 Saturn Vue. I fit in it nicely, and it drove like a dream. I was able to buy it at a price that left me with enough cash to purchase the protection of a three-year extended warranty.
Oh, and one thing I learned from the reputable car dealer (is that an oxymoron?) is that Arizona has no lemon law on used cars. (I should have suspected that because it would be greatly out-of-character for the Arizona legislature to have passed anything that would actually benefit citizens of the state.)
When buying a used car in the Scorpion State or anywhere else, shop patiently and carefully, doubt everything, and always ask for the Car Fax. You'll be glad you did.