Can you be sued for selling something on Craigslist?

I sold a car on Craigslist a few weeks ago, it received a Virginia state inspection the day before it was sold, and I was told the car is in good working order. The person who bought the car is now claiming that the transmission failed 10 days after the sale and is trying to sue me. Does he have a valid legal argument? Should I hire a lawyer?

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you did not warranty or guaranty the car, you should be liable only if you committed fraud--that is, you misrepresented, or lied about, the car's condition or shape, including potentially by omitting to disclose problems of which you were aware. If you did legitimately believe the car was in good shape, you should not be liable for it. That said, if you are sued, take it seriously--if you don't present you case correctly, you could lose. If there's several thousand dollars at stake, hire an attorney if sued; if it's several hundred, either refund the money and take the car back (or pay for the repair), or defend yourself in court, knowing that if you lose, it's still cheaper than paying an attorney would have been.

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