Can I take action to sue a used car lot dealer for selling me a lemon?

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Can I take action to sue a used car lot dealer for selling me a lemon?

A couple months ago I bought a used vehicle and since day one all I’ve had is majors problems. I have spent over a $1,000 trying to fix things wrong with it but there is too much to fix. I got a warranty on it but it is a joke. The dealer told me it was a great vehicle and did not have anything wrong with it. He also told me that if something was to go wrong the warranty would cover it. The warranty won’t cover anything and the dealership is not helping. Can I take him to court and get my money back?

Asked on October 4, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

If your vehicle had less than 18,000 miles on it when you bought it, you may be covered under your state's Lemon Law and may be able to force the dealer to fix it (or take it back, if it can't be fixed). At the end of this answer, I'll include a link to a very informative webpage put out by your state government about the Lemon Law.

If the vehicle had more than 18,000 miles, here are your options:

1) If there is a warranty, it must be honored as per its terms; if the vehicle and condition would be covered, you can bring legal action to enforce it.

2) If the dealer lied to you about their being a warranty, you can sue the dealer either for  fraud and/or for breach of contract (if the warrnaty is mentioned in the sales agreement); you may be entitled to monetary compensation, or possibly to rescind the sale (they take the car back; you get your money back)

3) If the dealer knowingly lied about the condition of the car when it was sold (i.e. the dealer knew of the problems), then that could provide another ground for suing based on fraud.

Here's the link about the IN Lemon Law; good luck:

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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