How can I get my money back if i bought a car “as is”?

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How can I get my money back if i bought a car “as is”?

I brought a car for $4000 cash. About 15 minutes after I left the car broke down. What legal right do I have or what should I do?

Asked on April 7, 2011 under General Practice, Louisiana

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First, it appears that your state's lemon law only applies to new cars, so there is no help there.

Second, if you bought the car "as is," then--with the exception discussed below--you accepted or assumed the risks; that is, when you buy something "as is," it literally is "as is" and you don't generally have recourse if it turns out to be a sow's ear, not a silk purse.

Third, even in as is transactions, the seller cannot misrepresent--or lie about--the items being sold. Even an omission--silence, or not saying anything--can be a misrepresentation in some cases, such as if it's so central to the purchase that any reasonable seller should have disclosed it. For example, if the car's transmission was known to the seller to be badly defective and the car was being marketed as a running or working vehicle, then the failure to mention the transmission problem might be a misrepresenation in this context. A misrepresentation can give rise to fraud, which in turn might give the buyer grounds to sue for damages (e.g. cost to repair) or else rescind the transaction and get his/her money back.

However, to be fraud: 1) the seller must have known; 2) the seller must have either lied or omitted to reveal the problem in a situation where he or she effectively had a duty to disclose it; 3) the lie or omission must have been intentional, not merely an oversight; 4) the lie or omission must have been made to convince the buyer to go ahead with the purchase.

It can therefore, as you can imagine, be difficult to show fraud, since it involves a showing of what the seller knew and intended.


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