If a buyer purchased a car without test driving it and now claims there is a problem with the car, can they get their money back?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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If a buyer purchased a car without test driving it and now claims there is a problem with the car, can they get their money back?

A lady purchased vehicle I had for sale; I dropped $800 from the listed price to get it sold. She did not test drive the vehicle but it had been on previous test drives with other potential buyers. She made an offer right away and settled on $1,700. I told her all known issues with the vehicle; that it was not perfect. She paid some cash and a check, signed title which she notarized and left. She then called 30 minutes later wanting to bring it back to get money refunded because of an issue that was unknown prior to sale. I told her was it was a done deal. She stopped payment on the check and threatened to sue. She dropped the car off and left hours later.

Asked on September 8, 2011 under General Practice, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, a private "as is" sale of a used vehicle, made after an opportunity to test drive the vehicle (i.e you did not refuse her the chance) and full disclosure of all issues known to the seller, should not be rescindable. That is, she should not be able to return the car and seek her money back. If she has stopped payment on her check, you would need to sue her to get it; you may wish to weigh the cost and inconvenience of suing, that fact that winning is never guaranteed (e.g. if the jury or judge believes, for example, that you knew of the problem and elected to not disclose it), and that if she still doesn't pay (if you win), you'd need to then bring another action to garnish wages, put a lien on her home, etc., in deciding whether it is worthwhile to sue for the $1,700 when you have the car back to attempt to sell again.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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