What is my recourse if the dealership did not disclose prior damage to my vehicle?

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What is my recourse if the dealership did not disclose prior damage to my vehicle?

I bought a vehicle from carmax cash deal that had problems from the get go. wasn’t until I was trading into another dealership did I know the vehicle was wrecked and therefore had a bad carfax. I paid approximately $20,000 for the vehicle and owning I month over a year, was only given $8500 trade allowance. I realize vehicles depreciate the minute you drive out of their lot, but I would have never even considered purchasing it had I been told about the accident prior to my purchase. I had my father, a friend and my son, who we all know this was never disclosed at purchase let alone delivery, when hearing this I went back to carmax who has the buy back option and in turn said $8500. I know someone who returned the vehicle to carmax after 2 years and got $2000. Less than what they paid. I had mine 1 or 2 months past a year and got $11,500 less? This just is not right. How long do I have to file this? They had me sign paperwork saying no prior damage.

Asked on August 5, 2017 under Business Law, New Mexico

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If they either knew or reasonably/logically should have known that the car had been wrecked (i.e. any reasonable dealer in their position, given the information and resources dealers have, would have known) but nonetheless failed to disclose it, they very well may have committed fraud. (Fraud is failing to disclose, or affirmatively liying about, as in the "no prior damage" form they filled out, some material or important issue known to them.) If so, you could recover compensation, such as the difference in value between this car if wrecked (as it was) and what its value would have been had it not been wrecked. The statute of limitations for fraud (or time within which you must file a lawsuit) is four years in your state, so you are still within time to sue. If the amount of money (that is, the difference in value) is less than or equal to the limit for small claims court in your state, suing in small claims, as your own attorney or "pro se," may be a very good option.


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