What is a seller’s liability for selling an “as is” car?

My wife bought me a fixer upper car for my birthday that I did not want. Since I didn’t want it, she turned around and sold the car to a guy for $600 and told him everything that was wrong with the car that she knew about. The car did not start when he bought it nor did he test drive it. He gave her the money and she gave him the title. He now wants part of his money back because he says there are things wrong with it. I believe the transaction was complete and she was completely honest with him on the condition of the car. He keeps threatening small claims court. Does he even have a case?

Asked on September 17, 2012 under Business Law, North Dakota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If the car was sold "as is" (so no warranty or guaranty of any kind) and your wife disclosed everything she knew about it, she would not be liable and the buyer should not have a case against her.

That said, it's very hard to stop someone from at least filing a case and forcing you to mount a defense against it: if the buyer seems serious about suing, you may wish to consider whether it's worth fighting, or whether it may be better to settle by giving him some money back. (If you do this, make sure you get a written settlement, signed by him, releasing any/all claims in exchange for the payment.)

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