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

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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

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.


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