CanI take a dealership to court for intentionally covering up severe rust and corrosion on a vehicleI bought “as is”?

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CanI take a dealership to court for intentionally covering up severe rust and corrosion on a vehicleI bought “as is”?

I bought a 10 year old vehicle 5 months ago. The dealership repaired broken bolts on the power steering gear box and replaced the gear box at no cost to me. The power steering pump went bad, which I replaced myself, as well as a sway bar bracket that was broken. I looked under the car and saw a rough texture under the entire car, which appeared to be an enamel undercoating. Turns out, it was black spray paint covering up severe corrosion.

Asked on December 22, 2011 under General Practice, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

IF the dealer knew of the rust and deliberately hid it, then that could constitute fraud--knowingly or intentionally making a material misrepresenation (basically, a lie), with the purpose of getting you to engage in the deal or transaction, and on which it was reasonable for  you to rely. If it was fraud, that could provide basis for either seeking monetary compensation or for rescinding the transaction--you return the car, get your money back. The issue is whether it was the dealership that did this, or at least knew about the problem, or whether it was a prior owner who did this and the dealership was innocent. If the dealership was not involved, they would not be liable.


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