Can I return a car if the model year was misrepresented to me?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I return a car if the model year was misrepresented to me?

Less than 60 days ago, I bought a car from a dealer for $5000; I put more that $3,000 down. It was supposed to be 11 years old, however now I just discovered it is a year older than I was told and that what is shown on the paperwork. I financed it through my credit union so they may have something to say about this

Asked on January 9, 2017 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If it was an error, not a lie, all you could get is, potentially, the difference in value between an 11 year old and 12 year old car, which may be small or even trivial. That's because it takes a lie--a knowing misrepresentation--to be fraud, and only fraud could potentially allow the transaaction to be voided. So if the dealer made an error without deliberately misrepresenting it to you, the transaction will stand and all you can do is get some small amount of compensation for breach of contract--for not selling you what they had agreed to sell.
If you can show that they did commit fraud by deliberately misrepresenting the age of the car, you *may* be able to rescind the transaction--return car and get money back (or possibly money back less around 60 days of use or depreciation, since you have been using the car): fraud does provide a potential basis for undoing a transation. However, in order to undo or rescind the transaction, the misrepresentation must be "material" or significant; it's possible that a court would not consider the difference the between an 11 and 12 year old car to be material and again just award you some small amount of compensation for the difference in value.

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 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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