What are a buyer’s rights if a seller represents merchandise differently than thatwhich was actually sold?

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What are a buyer’s rights if a seller represents merchandise differently than thatwhich was actually sold?

My girlfriend bought a laptop off an on-line site. The seller the changed hardware specs right before sale, with no notice. Would she have a case? He advertised the laptop with certain specs and in working order. After sale, the laptop turned out to instead having a different hard drive with counterfeit software. Also, the touch pad does not work and the keyboard is damaged. I searched by his cell number and found his name, address and a criminal history. I went to his house personally to ask him to resolve this. He remarked, “You bought at your own risk”.

Asked on January 17, 2011 under General Practice, Illinois

Answers:

Randall H. Green

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Depending on the surrounding facts there might be a case to be made for fraud, misrepresenation or breach of contract.  Under certain circumstances, a successful claim of intentional fraud may entitle your girlfriend to damages and reasonable attorney's fees.  To decide what is best for your circumstances given your state's laws and to weigh the cost of a legal battle with the potential reward and liklihood of success, your girlfriend should speak with an attorney. 

At a minimum you could contact your state's attorney's office.  The number for the civil division here in Champaign-Urbana is 384-3832.

Note: this response is for informational purposes only does not create an attorney-client relationship.  You should speak with an attorney to evaluate the merits of your particular case.

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am afraid the gentleman may be right in that your girlfriend did buy at her own risk...you always do on such sites unless you have some sort of written warranty.  It is like buying a used car "as is"; you run the risk of problems occurring. That being said, a fraudulent sale is never legal and you should have your girlfriend contact not only the online site and any payment system used to get her money back, but contact the u.s. attorney's office, the state attorney general and any local prosecutor to discuss the criminal matter of bait and switch and fraudulent software. Good job researching his background but you better make sure you have the right person as having a criminal background, because if it winds up in writing anywhere and it is untrue, you may have problems along the defamation route.


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