If a car I sold was in accident but I did not know that, what is my responsibility regarding the sale?

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If a car I sold was in accident but I did not know that, what is my responsibility regarding the sale?

I sold a car 5 months ago and now the buyer wants me to purchase the car back. I always guessed that the frame could have some damage. I never got it looked at by a professional. The purchaser supposedly had it inspected and says that it has frame damage and was in 2 accidents. I did not know this as I did not get a car history report on the car and neither did they when purchasing the car. They now want me to buy the car back or give them money to cover the repairs. They told me in my state you do not need a bill of sale so we never signed bills of sale. They are still in contract owing me payments.

Asked on November 23, 2011 under General Practice, Colorado

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The key issue from what you write is that you say you "always guessed the frame could have some damage." Fraud is the misrepresentation of a material (or important) fact--or the omission to state a material fact when there is a duty to disclose it. Given how important prior accidents are in valuing a car, a buyer has a reasonable expectation that the seller would disclose any frame or similar damage; therefore, it may well be that you had a duty to disclose your suspicions, and that the failure to do so could be fraud. If it is fraud, that would give the buyer the right to rescind the transaction, or return the car and get his money back. Fraud does not require definitive knowledge; it can be enough if the seller "should have known" there was something to be disclosed--and from what you write, you indeed "should have known" that there might be frame damage, since you say you had guessed it existed. Therefore, the fact that you did not verify this fact would not help you.


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