What are my mother’s rights if she bought a car on Saturday off of craigslist but picked it up from a business and then on the way to church the next day it caught on fire?

She called the genentalman and he said there should be no problem getting her money back he just needed to call his partner and would call her back. He is now not answering his phone. Is this covered under the lemon law?

Asked on July 23, 2015 under General Practice, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Your state's lemon law only applies to new cars, so if sh was buying it from Craigslist, it was presumably a used/pre-owned car and the lemon law would not apply.

If the seller knew about the problem which caused the car to burst into flame and intentionally or knowingly withheld that critical information, this may be a case of fraud; if it was fraud, that could provide legal grounds to rescind (void or undo) the sale and get your mother's money back--though she'd have to sue if the seller will not voluntarily return the money.

However, if the seller did not know about the problem, then this would not be fraud; fraud is based on misrepresenting important information. If fraud was not involved and if there was no warranty or guaranty, then once the car was sold to your mother, the seller would have no more liability or responsibility for it.

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