IfI sold a car that won’t pass inspection, am I liable?

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IfI sold a car that won’t pass inspection, am I liable?

I live in one state and sold a car to someone who lives in another; it won’t pass their inspection. Car was sold “as is” no warranty private sale. Am I responsible? They are threatening to sue me.

Asked on January 11, 2012 under Business Law, Connecticut

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If it would pass inspection in your state, you are probably ok; selling a car that complies with all the laws, regulations, etc. of where you live is an acceptable practice, and the buyer would take the risk it does not comply with his state's rules, if they differ from yours.

However, if the car would not even pass your state's inspection, then you probably would be liable. That is because even when a car is sold "as is," buyers have a reasonable expectation that the vehicle is road legal; selling a car that is not legal to drive without disclosing that fact could be fraud and/or breach of contract. Again, so long as it would be legal where you live, you could claim to have met this requirement--you're not responsible if another jurisdiction has different rules; at the least, this would give you a reasonable defense you could present in good faith. But you would likely be found liable, in a lawsuit, if the car would not even pass under your local regulations.


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