What are my rights if an auto dealer sold me a car as all wheel drivebut itwasn’t?

UPDATED: Mar 12, 2012

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What are my rights if an auto dealer sold me a car as all wheel drivebut itwasn’t?

The car was for my wife for use primarily driving my kids around. My only needs in a car were safety, space, and reliability. Our last need was either all wheel or 4-wheel drive. Their website listed the car as AWD and just as I wrote it, with the VIN there also. I have their ad with VIN listed and the salesman confirmed it. Additionally, they also claimed it passed state safety inspection, which after looking for the manual I found paperwork saying it had not. What are my options to resolve this? AWD alone increases the value well over $1000.

Asked on March 12, 2012 under General Practice, New Hampshire


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the auto dealer for fraud.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment. 

The auto dealer committed fraud by intentionally misrepresenting that the car had all wheel drive and that it passed the state safety inspection.  This material misrepresentations were made to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment by purchasing the car.  Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking in a lawsuit for fraud) would be either the benefit of the bargain or your out of pocket loss.

Benefit of the bargain means the difference between the real and represented value of the car.

Out of pocket loss is the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the vehicle you purchased.

It would also be advisable to contact the consumer fraud division of your state's attorney general's office.  Fraud is both civil and criminal.  Your lawsuit (civil case) for fraud is separate from the criminal case the attorney general's consumer fraud division could pursue.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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