Can I get my money back within 72 hours if the private seller lied to my face about what was wrong with the car?

The car was not in the same condition the next day when I came to pick it up. It was “dinging” like a car does when the lights are on and the doors open. When I asked why he said it was because he had the door open too long-cleaning the glass. When I got home I found that the parking lights are stuck “on”-that’s why it is “dinging”. Is there anything I can do? File a civil complaint?

Asked on September 2, 2011 under General Practice, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If either--

1) the seller knowingly misrepresented (or lied) about the condition of the car; or

2) Altered the car (damaged it) from the time you agreed to buy it to when you picked it up

--you would be entitled to some recovery. However, you cannot rescind the agreement and get you money back unless the breach is "material" or important; whether it is depends on the cost and difficulty of fixing (e.g. you can't give a whole car, which cost several hundred or thousand dollars, back because of a $50 fix). If the problem is minor, you are entitled to recover the costs you thereby entail, which could--if the seller will not honor his obligation in this regard--require bringing a lawsuit, such as in small claims court, for the money.

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