Do I have any legal claims if I bought a used car and it broke down less than 50 miles later?

UPDATED: Jun 22, 2011

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Do I have any legal claims if I bought a used car and it broke down less than 50 miles later?

I bought a car on Saturday afternoon and it wouldn’t drive on Monday. The clutch was burned out and the dealer made no action to fix the problem. It was the first time I drove a manual, so I didn’t know the clutch was slipping, but the company has been in business for 22 years, so they should have known unless they are incompetent mechanics. They failed to disclose the clutch was slipping, and they failed to display or provide me with a buyer’s guide. The car was bought as is but they never verbally told me this. Do I have any legal recourse?

Asked on June 22, 2011 under General Practice, Michigan


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If the purchase contract for the vehicle was "as is" meaning without any warranty as to condition and fitness, you would only have a legal claim against the seller if the seller knew of its poor condition and did not disclose the facts to you about its poor condition to put you on notice to further inquire about it.

Just because something is sold "as is" does not necessarily mean that the seller is absolved of any liability for damages if the seller knew about a problem (with the car in this case) and failed to disclose the known problems to a potential buyer. Laws in most States require sellers of items to disclose known problems about the item being sold to a potential buyer even if sold "as is".

You would have to prove that the seller knew of a known problem before the sale to you and the known problem materialized after the sale, slipping clutch and you incurred repairs for the clutch that ordinarily would not have been incurred.


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