Do used car dealers have to tell you a car has been totaled before you buy it?

Asked on October 10, 2015 under General Practice, South Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they need to tell you this, assuming that they either knew it or reasonably should have known it i.e. that any car dealer, with typical car-dealer resources, in their position would have known. Otherwise, they may have committed fraud knowingly lied about a material, or important fact, upon which you reasonably relied, in order to induce you to enter into a transaction. Fraud can provide grounds to seek monetary compensation from the dealer E.g. the difference between the value it should have had, based on what they told you, and the value it does have or in some cases even void the contract return car, get money back. If they will not voluntarly provide compensation, your recourse would have been to sue them. 
Note that if they can show that they themselves did not know and should not reasonably have known of the car's true history e.g. maybe they got it from another dealer, who lied them and/or falsified paperwork, they would not be liable being wrong is not fraud, only lying is.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.