Can I sue a seller for repairs to a vehicle I purchased if they hida defect from me?

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Can I sue a seller for repairs to a vehicle I purchased if they hida defect from me?

I bought a car last week from someone in a different FL county. I drove the car home and shortly after, I heard a knocking rod. It appears the seller put extra thick oil in the car to hide the knock, and now that the velocity of the oil has decreased the noise has returned. This is a trick that I’ve since read that sellers use to sell cars with this particular problem. Can I sue the seller for the cost of the repairs needed? The car is not drivable now at all and it will cost about $5000 to repair. I have the seller’s ad which says the car is in great running condition.

Asked on June 29, 2011 under General Practice, Florida

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

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

The seller had knowledge of and concealed the condition of  the car by adding oil, with the intent to induce you to purchase.  You relied upon the seller's ad that the car was in "great running condition", to your detriment.

Your damages (the amount of your recovery in your lawsuit) for fraud would be either the benefit-of-the-bargain or your out-of-pocket-loss.  Benefit-of-the-bargain is the difference between the real and represented value of the car regardless of the fact that your actual loss might have been less.  Out-of-pocket-loss is the difference between what you paid for the car and its actual value.


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