What to do if I bought a car a few months ago from out of state and the actualmileage was not as represented?

UPDATED: Jan 16, 2014

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What to do if I bought a car a few months ago from out of state and the actualmileage was not as represented?

The car was advertised as having 80,000 miles after getting it home and doing a carfax on it. I find out the car has over 300,000 miles. I contacted the DMV of the last state it was registered in to confirm what carfax had already told me. The DMV said they could fax over the vehicle report to my lawyer (when I get one.) I also have the original bill of sale with the mileage the dealer claimed the vehicle had. So the value difference with actual mileage and the claimed mileage is about $7000. Do i have a legal leg to stand on?

Asked on January 16, 2014 under General Practice, Iowa


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the seller / auto dealer 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 justiifiably relied to your detriment.

In other words, you would not have purchased the car had you known the actual mileage or if you had purchased the car, you would have paid $7000 less which would have been the actual value of 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 a defrauded purchaser may recover the difference between the real and the represented value of the property purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss suffered might have been less.

Out of pocket recovery for fraudulent misrepresentation permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property acquired.

Under these rules, you can recover the $7000 representing the difference in the value of the vehicle between the actual and claimed mileage.

Fraud is both civil (lawsuit) and criminal.  The civil case is separate from the criminal case.  Regarding the criminal case, it would be advisable to check with the attorney general of the state where the vehicle was purchased regarding criminal charges for fraud for turning back the odometer.

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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