If I had bought a used car this past week at amajor dealership and it has had numerous problems, is there anythingthat Ican do?

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If I had bought a used car this past week at amajor dealership and it has had numerous problems, is there anythingthat Ican do?

I did buy the car “as is” but I”ve talked to many people and they all say there should be something I can do. There is an instrument cluster in the dash, which acted up not even an hour after I left the lot. There’s a problem with the steering column and the transmission acts up sometimes. The dealership has not been cooperating at all and keeps lying to me and my dad about the problems. All I want to do is give the car back and get a refund of my money but they refuse to do so.

Asked on December 27, 2011 under General Practice, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If they knew of these problems and hid them, that may constitute fraud--a material misrepresentation of the truth, or a material omission (failure to state it) when there is a duty to disclose--and there generally is a duty to disclose mechanical problems with a car being sold. This could provide grounds to rescind the contract--you give the car back and get your money back. Much will depend on a) did these issues exist while the car was in the dealership's possession; b) what did they know about them; c) how significant are the problems; and d) what exactly did they say? If they will not cooperate, you  can try filing a lawsuit (for smaller amounts, represent yourself; for larger amounts, hire an attorney) alleging fraud based on misrepresentations as to the car's condition; that may induce them to at least negotiate with you (maybe you can get some money back, or free repairs).

Also, look to your state's lemon law--some lemon laws apply to at least some used vehicles--and also to any consummer fraud act or law. If your state has a consummer fraud act, then if you can plead and prove that the dealership acted unconscionably, you may be entitled to additional compensation.


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