What are my rightsregarding a defective vehicle purchased from a private seller?

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What are my rightsregarding a defective vehicle purchased from a private seller?

Bought the vehicle from a private seller. Sent text messages back and fourth. She stated that everything was great on the truck and she drove it 60 miles a day for work up until the night she sold it. She never gave us a receipt of sale or told us it was “as is”. My boyfriend, along with myself, almost had a couple accidents a week after we had it registered due to poor alignment, broken ball joints, and bald front brakes were bald. She text me saying if we needed anything to call her. Now when I call her there is no answer.

Asked on August 23, 2010 under General Practice, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

To being with, a used car bought from a private seller would not be covered under your state's lemon law, so you don't have any rights under it. Generally speaking, all private sales are "as is" (but see below), so the buyer takes it subject to its condition. If the seller had offered you a warranty or guaranty, you could enforce it, but does not seem to be the case here.

The main recourse you may have would if you can show that  she committed fraud against you: that is, she made material (or important) mistatements of fact, which she made knowingly (both intentionally and knowing they were false) in order to get you to buy the car when otherwise you would not have. If she committed fraud, you may be able to rescind the sale or get monetary damages. Note that if she didn't misrepresent--if, for example, she did drive it 60 miles a day and honestly considered it to be in great shape--she might not have committed fraud.

If you think you have been defraued, you should contact an attorney who can review the particulars of the case with you, determine what rights you may have, and advise as how to best proceed.


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