A national study conducted by CNW Marketing Research, Inc., in November of more than 38,200 online used-car buyers showed nearly 13 percent of those who purchased from a private party said the condition of the vehicle was significantly worse than advertised.

Slightly more than 9 percent of those who purchased from an independent used-car dealer felt the vehicle was misrepresented while about 5 percent of those who bought a used car from a franchised new-car dealership believed they were hoodwinked. Of those who said they were misled, the cost of bringing the vehicle "up to snuff" cost an average of $316 for vehicles from franchised dealers, $611 from independent dealers and a whopping $738 for vehicles from private parties. Complaints ranged from inoperable switches and gauges to major body repairs that were not revealed in the classified ad or online auction. In a previous study, less than half of the respondents (46.8 percent) said they would recommend buying a vehicle online to a friend, relative or business associate.