What Is the Law About Selling Cars in Georgia?


The sale of new and used cars is tightly regulated in the state of Georgia. Learning these laws will allow buyers to avoid falling prey to scam artists. Those wishing to sell cars should familiarize themselves with the law to avoid running afoul of the authorities and the fines that this entails.

Dealer's License

Not anyone can sell cars in Georgia. To sell more than three cars in a single year in the state, a dealer must have a dealer's license. Getting a license for a dealership requires approval from the Department of Motor Services, an application and a fee to process this application. Dealers must also have a surety bond or a letter of credit. Dealers must already own a property where the dealership will stand and take a seminar regarding dealership law.

Private Sales

Private sellers are not required to have a license. This means that they are not beholden to the same standards as dealerships. Further, the state's "lemon law" does not apply to the sale of cars from private sellers -- nor used cars of any kind. While there might be other benefits to buying from a private seller, such as a lower price and more leeway to negotiate, buyers should be cautious about any vehicle purchased from a private seller in the state.


Sellers of any vehicle powered by gasoline with a gross vehicle weight rating of 8,500 lbs. or less have to pass an emissions test if the buyer plans to register the car in the metro Atlanta area. This applies to sellers or new and used cars, as well as both dealerships and private parties. Those who fail to obtain such a report can be criminally prosecuted, with fines reaching as much as $5,000 as of June 2011.

Temporary Tags

When purchasing a car, whether it is new or used, the dealer or seller is required to provide you with temporary tags. This tag is good for 30 days, which allows the buyer ample time to do everything that he needs to do to get the car in order, legally speaking, such as titling and registration. Those who do not get a temporary tag from the dealership can get them from the state tax commissioner.

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