How can I legally get out of a contract to buy a used car?

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2012

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How can I legally get out of a contract to buy a used car?

The odometer read 89,389 miles but the purchase agreement states 89,000. Is this technicality enough to get out of the contract? Not just for this reason but the car broke down last week and I had to have it towed to a mechanic. Upon looking at the car the mechanic told me that it should not have passed inspection because of all the corrosion around the motor mounts. If a car should not have passed inspection in the first place should I beable to return the car or does the dealer get the option to reapair the damage? I purchased it 2 months ago.

Asked on March 26, 2012 under General Practice, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) A material misrepresentation or lie about a car, such as about its mileage, can provide grounds to rescind the contract...but the key is that the misrepresentation must be "material," or important. An error of 389 miles out of 89,000, or a less than 1/2 of 1 percent difference, would not be considered material.

2) It does not matter if the car "should" have passed inspection or not: if it did in fact pass inspection (i.e. the dealer did not lie about it passing inspection), then the dealer did nothing wrong--he sold you a car which is road legal and passed inspection.

From what  you write, you seem to have no grounds for a claim or cause of action.

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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