Can used car dealers give you false orincorrect information about the vehicle they are selling you?

I recently purchased a vehicle from a used car dealer (including the process of filling out all of the paperwork- bill of sale, as-is papers, title transfer, etc.) after having him reassure me that the title was clean and that the car had never been in any accidents and was free of any mechanical issues. However, upon taking it to an authorized/licensed and trusted mechanic, I was informed that it was likely to have been in numerous accidents and that there were vital repairs, in excess of $1500, that had to be performed on the vehicle for it to be “safe to drive.” What can I do legally?

Asked on September 23, 2010 under General Practice, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney. If the dealer knowingly misrepresented to you, you would have a good case to seek monetary damages and/or rescind the contract. However, an issue is that there must be "misrepresentation," which means the dealer must have known he was telling you falsehoods. If instead the dealer did not know of the problems and the car was sold "as is" (no warranty), it is not nearly as clear that you could recover damages or rescind the contract. It is worth talking to an attorney about this, who can evaluate all the specifics of your situation; but bear in mind that without a warranty or guaranty, it is often the case where if the dealer honestlyt told you what he knew or  reasonably should have known, that you might be in a position to recover. Good luck.

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