Can a car dealership sell a car as certified pre-owned when it is not and then they realize the fact 3 months later, take it back in for theCPO process?

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Can a car dealership sell a car as certified pre-owned when it is not and then they realize the fact 3 months later, take it back in for theCPO process?

I bought a certified pre-owned car a year ago and have come to find out the car was never certified when I bought it. The company brought the car in to “check on” some things and actually performed the certification test at that time. I have spent over $2500 on services for this car in the past year and they refuse to give me any explanation or help as to why it was not certified from the beginning. Is what they did buy selling it as a CPO when it wasn’t even legal ?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the car was not a certified pre-owned (CPO) when sold to you, you could likely do one of  the following: rescind the contract (give the car back and receive your money back--though after a year, this might not be an option a court would favor); receive compensation for costs you incurred which you would not have had the car been properly CPO (e.g. excessive servicing costs); or "reform" the original contract so you receive back some of the purchase price (difference between CPO and non-CPO car). The theory would be that if the dealership knew or reasonably should have known the car was not CPO but misrepresented it as CPO, that was fraud; or if they did not know, then you and they were both affected by a "mutual mistake"--the agreement of sale was incorrect, in that they were not selling, and you were not buying, what you thought you were. Either theory can provide a basis for recovery, though if you can't work out some compensation voluntarily with the dealership, you'd need to sue to try to vindicate your rights.


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