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Tulsa woman's story serves as warning to used car buyers

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Sep 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-13 20:06:19-04

TULSA, Okla. — For nearly two months, the used car Shawna Carter bought has been in and out of the shop, and the only way she could get around town was with the help of her daughter.

"I feel like I'm being played and I'm not sure what to do at this point,” Carter says.

Without a car, Carter says her family's life seems out of her control.

"It's so frustrating because my work has been so patient with me and I can't pay my bills, I can't get to work," she says.

"I'm having to inconvenience my daughter to take me to my doctor appointments."

When she bought her used car, it came with a very limited warranty, but time was running out.

Not long after driving off the lot, and making her near $500 a month payment, the car overheated and has been in the shop several times, but was never truly repaired and never reliable at times when she was really depending on it.

"I needed to go to the hospital during this whole thing because I had a miscarriage," Carter says.

"I couldn't even get to the hospital. I had to wait for someone to get off work to get me so I could get to the hospital."

Carter was fortunate in the fact she had that limited warranty. That's very rare for most used vehicle sales. According to state law, there's no lemon law for used cars, they're sold "as is", unless there's a warranty specifically included, as in Shawna's case.

Experts have some important advice before buying a used vehicle, take it to a trusted mechanic first.

"I'll check it out and see if it's worth it,” J.J. Dickerson says.

Dickerson is a mechanic at Same Day Auto Repair in Sand Springs.

He inspects used vehicles all the time. Many mechanics charge for the service, some don't.

Dickerson says he's seen too many folks just barely making it financially, buy a used lemon.

They come to him after it's too late.

"I feel for them, and that's the part that gets me with this job; people with no money and I can't help them, it bothers me."

It certainly bothered Carter, but in her case, she now has the car back, finally working properly, she says.

The next time she buys a used vehicle, she says she'll take Dickerson's advice, and have it checked out before signing on the dotted line.

Even though there are no lemons laws in Oklahoma dealing with used vehicles, you can file a complaint if you end up in a situation like Carter's.

File that complaint with the Oklahoma Used Motor Vehicle and Parts Commission here.

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