Can I take a car dealership for giving false information when I traded my car in

The dealership told me that my car had a
report that it had possible roll back on the
miles and it would be hard to sell they gave
me this information via Auto Check I later
found out by contacting DMV in my state that
this information was incorrect I may loss
2000 dollars on my trade in do i have a civil

Asked on May 10, 2016 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

He is wrong. Yes, a signed contract us *usually* enforceable, even if it's a bad deal or one side played hardball. But there are exceptions, and one is for FRAUD: for knowingly or intentionally (or when, logically/reasonably they must have known) lying about a material, or important fact, in order to induce, or cause you, to enter into a transaction. If they knew or should have known the report was false, they committed fraud, and you could sue that as a basis to get monetary compenation from them (e.g. the extra $2,000) and/or to "rescind," or undo, the sale--everyone gets their original vehicles and money back.
Or if they claim that they thought the information was true, then you can tell them that in that case, it was MUTUAL MISTAKE: both parties were mistaken as to the facts and the deal they entered into was not the one they would have had the information been correct. (One party's mistake does not count, unless it was caused by the other side's fraud; but if both parties are mistaken, then it is "mutual mistake.") Mutual mistake allows the contract to be reformed, or corrected to what it would have been had the information been accurate.
So either they lied to you, and it was fraud; or they and you were both wrong, and it was mutual mistake. Either way, if they will not voluntarily do something about this (e.g. give you all or at least enough of the $2,000 that it would not be worth your while to sue), you have grounds to take them to court.

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