What are my rights as a seller of a used car?

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What are my rights as a seller of a used car?

I am a private seller and sold a car that I hadn’t driven in a year. I explained this to the buyer and told them that the car needed maintence and should be towed to a mechanic to be checked. When I sold the car it was running good; no engine problems that I knew of. However, I told the buyer that the car should definitely be serviced before driving. He refused to do that and drove the car illegally with no inspection. After 63 miles the car presumably died. Now he brought the car back tin worse condition then it was because he didn’t take my advice. Can I sue for the repairs to the engine?

Asked on August 25, 2010 under General Practice, Maine

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you sold the car to him, why do you have to repair the engine? Did you give him his money back and accept the return of the car? If you did, you might be out of luck:

1) If you had no obligation to take the car back--which you probably would not have, unless you gave him some kind of a warranty or guaranty--then you took it back voluntarily with knowledge of the problems it had; that probably precludes you from returning it.

2) If you gave him a warranty or guaranty, then you will have to honor it, which itself probably precludes then trying to collect for the cost.

Generally, when a private seller sells a vehicle "as is," after disclosing any problems or issues, and without committing fraud (i.e. lying about the vehicle or the deal, to get the buyer to take it), that sale is generally final.


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