What to do if I thought I was buying a car in original condition but have since found out that it has been restored?

UPDATED: Sep 2, 2012

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What to do if I thought I was buying a car in original condition but have since found out that it has been restored?

I purchased a collector car almost 6 months ago and paid $17,000 based on claim from seller that it needs reconditioning but is complete and unmolested. I spend the first 2 months working on engine and paid mechanic to get car to idle smooth. He found issues with carb and timing chain installed incorrectly from previous owner. I now have time to start looking at body and have found left quarter panel was replaced and less than quality job then, now requires replacement. The right quarter had patches that were incorrectly done and now require right quarter and inner structures to be replaced. I understand a old car will require some attention and repairs to maintain investment but please help me define “unmolested”. Previous owner led me to believe car was original, untouched and needed some attention., not complete restoration.

Asked on September 2, 2012 under General Practice, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When someone knowingly misrepresents, or lies, about material, or important, facts, in order to induce someone else to enter into a transaction, that is fraud; fraud can provide grounds to either rescind the transaction (i.e. return car, get money back) or seek monetary compensation. For this purpose, "knowingly" includes if the seller reasonably "should have" known--that is, if any reasonable seller in his position would have been aware of the true condition. If you believe fraud was committed, you could sue the seller for compensation or rescission. For this amount of money, you would be best served by hiring an attorney to represent you, though you are allowed to proceed pro se (as your own attorney) if you wish.

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