What are y rights if I purchased a vehicle brand new off the lot but have now found out that it has been damaged and repaired?

I was having my vehicle appraised. I purchased it 4 months ago and I was just today told that the passenger side door had been damaged and repaired. I was never told this when buying. The appraisal company informed me that this will depreciate the re-sale value quite a bit. I notified the dealership and they want me to bring it in but I would like to know where I stand legally before doing so.

Asked on May 3, 2017 under Accident Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Assuming--as is likely a save assumption--that the dealership knew about this, then the failure to disclose this damage and repair would constitute fraud: a knowing or intentional misrepresentation of a material (important) fact, made to induce or cause you to buy the car, and upon which misreprsentation you reasonably relied (no reason you shouldn't have trusted the dealership). Fraud can provide a basis to rescind a sale (return car, get money, possibly less the value of using it for 4 months, back) or receive monetary compensation (such as the difference between what you paid and what it's worth). Based on what you write, you seem to have good legal grounds on your favor; while actually suing is rarely in anyone's best interest, if you were to sue, you'd likely win. That can give you leverage to bargain for a car exchange or for other conscessions, like free service for the car's life, some amount of money back, etc.


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