Was sold a vehicle that has structural damage by dealership

We bought a car back in November 2015. Took
it into a dealship febuaray of 2016 along with
our other vehicle to trade them both in for one
due to financial issues only to find out that the
one we bought in November had structural
damage on the car fax and the dealership
refused to buy it from us. We then went into the
original dealership we purchased it from and
they said they couldn’t do anything for us
because of the debt we were in with the two
vehicles. We then broke the news that we were
very upset that they did not mention to us that
the vehicle had damage. They immediately got
to work to ‘see what they could do.’ A few days
pass and they told us that if we got rid of our
other car and brought in the initial one we
bought from them that they would give us
anything they wanted. We now have been
waiting and dealing with financial issues
juggling two vehicles which of one that is
damaged and we are stuck with until we sell
our other one. It is now May 2016 and Iv come
to research that it was illegal of them to not
disclose this info to us before purchase? Is this
correct? We did have warranty of it but has
now expired. Is there anything we can do now
or is it to late to fight the issue? Please help.
This vehicle has put us in even more debt and
there is no way of getting rid of it.

Asked on May 22, 2016 under Accident Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The issue is what did the dealership know, or logically, under all the circumstances, must have known, regarding the condition of the vehicle. If they knew or should have known of the structural damage but, knowing of it, failed to disclose it, they committed fraud (lying about a material, or important, fact to get you to enter into the sale). Fraud can provide a legal basis to rescind, or undo, the transaction (you get back your original car and any money you put into the sale; they get the damaged car back) in some situations (though after 6 months, you might not be able to do this, because you have by now put significant additional miles on the new car--i.e. you can't return it in the shape it was in--and if they sold your old car to an innocent third party, you can't get it back from that person) or, alternately, if you can't or don't want to rescind, get monetary compensation, such as the difference in value between the car without structural damage and with.
If the dealership will not voluntarily compensate, etc. you, you therefore could sue them, based on fraud, with a reasonable chance of winning, if you think they knew or should have known of the damage, and seek compensation that way.


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