What situations are covered by state lemon laws or the UDAP regarding a used car purchase?

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What situations are covered by state lemon laws or the UDAP regarding a used car purchase?

I purchased a used car with 200,000 miles. I have had the car now for 1 month. On my way to getting an oil change the engine locked. I had a mechanic look at my car and he discovered oil on the motor because there was not an oil cap. When I brought this to my dealer’s attention, he said that 3 months had passed and that I should have gotten a oil change sooner. Also, there was not a warranty but he mentioned “3 months passing”, which to me suggest that he is somewhat responsible for repairing my car. This was my first car and thus far a horrible experience. What can I do?

Asked on April 14, 2012 under General Practice, North Carolina

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, North Carolina's lemon laws do not cover used vehicles.  Very few states do as a matter of fact.   But there are some federl laws that can help. First, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has what's called the Used Car Rule that requires dealers to provide consumers with a Buyer's Guide with warranty and other types of information. If the dealer has in any way failed to do this and follow the rule you may have the basis for a legal claim. Second, you mention the UDAP, the Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws. These are also avalable. If the dealer promised you womething verbally or didn't tell you about issues relating to your used car, you may have a claim. Third, North Carolina's version of the Uniform Commercial Code may provide you with relief but it is best to ask some one in the state as to its interpretation here. Finally, the Truth in Lending Act and the Federal Odometer Act might also be helpful with the right set of facts.  I would contact your state attorney general's office for help in the first instance.  The 3 months might be a red flag and the state attorney general may be able to point you in the right direction.  Good luck. 


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