State Regulations in Vermont
Buying or selling a vehicle can be stressful. The frustrations of haggling and feeling pressured to make a hasty sale or purchase can cause hours of indecision. Plus, trying to decipher what forms and applications to sign and send can add to the uncertainty.
Buying a Used Car
To make the process easier, take heed of the following tips.
- Always have the vehicle inspected by an independent mechanic of your choice.
- Investigate the car's history. Request the name and address of the previous owner if you are buying from a dealer.
- Make sure the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the car matches the VIN on the title.
- Insist that all agreements be made in writing.
- Be sure the seller gives you a Bill of Sale and Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TA-VT-05), the title, and a receipt.
Buying a New Car
- Before walking into a dealership, take the time to learn the trade-in value of your car by looking it up on the Kelley Blue Book website.
- Know how much you can afford, and compare finance terms between the dealer and your bank before expressing interest.
- Don't succumb to the pressure tactics of a zealous dealer. You're the one who must live with your decision. And bear in mind that there is no hedging once you sign the contract.
- Get every agreement in writing.
- Be sure you get a Bill of Sale and Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TA-VT-05), a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin, and (if the car was bought in Canada) a New Vehicle Information Statement.
- Submit all the above forms along with a completed Registration Tax and Title Application (Form TA-VD-119) to the main Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles office located at 120 State St in Montpelier.
Buying or Selling a Car Without a Title
Keep in mind that the state does not require titles for vehicles more than 15 years old. If you are attempting buy or sell such a vehicle, make sure that the Bill of Sale and Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TA-VT-05) includes the vehicle's make, year, vehicle identification number, purchase price, odometer reading, date of sale, and seller's signature.
If you are buying or selling a vehicle that does not have a required title (15 years old or newer), you will need the original or certified copy of the vehicle's last registration certificate as well as a Bill of Sale and Odometer Disclosure Statement (Form TA-VT-05) that includes the vehicle's make, year, vehicle identification number, purchase price, odometer reading, date of sale, and seller's signature. If the vehicle is nine years old or newer, you'll also need to complete the odometer disclosure statement on the back of the bill of sale.
General Car Buying Tips
- Keep in mind that an expensive vehicle does not automatically translate into a good vehicle. Pricey cars are just as prone to maintenance breakdowns as lower-priced models.
- The best deals for new cars occur July through October, when dealerships are trying to create space for new models, and during late December, when salesmen are desperately trying to reach year-end quotas.
- Never sign a blank financial form.
- Don't let the dealership hang onto your driver's license for collateral while taking a test drive. While you're wheeling around the block, the dealership could be using your license to run an unauthorized credit report.
To allay fears of getting stuck with a dud, Vermont does have a Lemon Law in place to protect you from getting fleeced by an unscrupulous car dealer. This does not guarantee it won't occur, however. You still need to exercise good judgment when negotiating with an unknown dealer.