What are my rights if damage to a vehicle that I purchased was not disclosed to me by the dealer?

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What are my rights if damage to a vehicle that I purchased was not disclosed to me by the dealer?

I began to have severe problems after a short time and a mechanic asked why I bought a reclaimed vehicle. Records indicate 2 wrecks while a body shop loaner and fixed in house. Airbag system non-functional and irreparable as a result, but I was not advised. When I contacted management at the dealer he laughed and basically said “tough”. I owe 7k on a worthless vehicle.

Asked on July 2, 2011 under General Practice, Texas

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You could sue the seller of the vehicle for fraud.  Fraud is the intentional misrepresentation of a material fact made with knowledge of its falsity and with the intent to induce your reliance upon which you justifiably relied to your detriment.  Fraud also applies to nondisclosure by the seller where the buyer could not have reasonably discovered the facts  (in this case the actual condition of the vehicle).

You justifiably relied on the seller regarding the condition of the car.

Your damages (the amount you are seeking to recover) in your lawsuit for fraud would be either the benefit-of-the-bargain or your out-of-pocket loss.

Benefit-of-the-bargain means the defrauded purchaser can recover the difference between the real and represented value of the property (vehicle) purchased regardless of the fact that the actual loss might have been less.

Out-of-pocket is a determination of damages for fraudulent misrepresentation which permits recovery of the difference between the price paid and the actual value of the property (vehicle) acquired. 


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