If I bought a car that broke down and can prove the person who soldit misrepresented the cars condition, doI have a case?

About 3 months ago I bought a used car from a private party for $2,900. I drove it home and the next day when I was driving to work the car began to overheat. I took it to the dealership where the previous owner had taken gone. They informed me the car had always had problems and that they told the owner that it needed an new engine. I have documentation that shows the car having overheating problems that were not repaired. I also have a statement from the mechanic stating that he informed the owner that the car needed a new engine. I am planning on small claims court.

Asked on March 26, 2011 under General Practice, Texas


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you got a warranty from the private seller, this motor vehicle was most likely sold "as is", which means you ran the risk of getting a lemon. While this is usually the case in small claims court, I can see a way out and that would require you to have kept the original advertisement. If the advertisement didn't simply puff (meaning saying like runs great, fantastic shape) but actually said that the engine had been replaced or something factual about the engine could put you squarely in the state's law of unfair and deceptive activity.  Otherwise, consider having the engine replaced if you decide to keep the car or renegotiate the price of the vehicle by informing him the sale was deceptive. If his defense is indeed this was an "as is" sale, then sue.

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