Are we responsible for buyer’s claim that a used treadmill doesn’t work properly?

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Are we responsible for buyer’s claim that a used treadmill doesn’t work properly?

We sold a used treadmill a couple of days ago. We delivered it to the buyer, took time to demonstrate how to use the controls, etc. Everything was working perfectly on the machine to our knowledge both in our home prior to selling it and also at delivery of her residence. She was happy with it and paid us $150 cash. There were no contracts/ everything was based on a handshake. She is now claiming in an email that it started to smoke and the speed control malfunctioned almost immediately.

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you provided no guaranty or warranty, and if the device worked when you sold it, you would only be liable if there had been some problem or condition of which you were aware prior to the sale, and while knowing of the problem or condition, you misrepresented to the buyer that everything was fine. (This would be fraud; fraud allows the buyer to rescind the sale and get her money back.) But if to the best of your knowledge it worked fine when you sold it, then in the absent of a guaranty or warranty, the buyer should not have a claim.


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