What is my liability if I sold an old van “as is”?

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What is my liability if I sold an old van “as is”?

I fully disclosed all that I knew was wrong with it and the buyer signed a paper stating that he knew he was buying it in that condition. I’ve sold over 6 other vehicles through the years and have always been honest as I would expect the same from someone if I bought from a private seller. After a month and a half, out of the blue the buyer called me stating the engine block’s cracked and I owe him 1/2 the money back. The price was $800 for a 27 year old van with new tires and maintenance records. Now he says he’ll see me in court. I don’t know what to do.

Asked on August 17, 2013 under Business Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Legally, if you disclosed everything you were aware of (and reasonably suspected--if you thought were was some problem, you'd have to disclose it, even if you were not certain) and the buyer bought the van "as is," you should not face liability. However, even though in that case, you'd very likely win if sued, it would not prevent the buyer from suing in the first place. If he does sue, or seems serious about suing, you should ask yourself if the $400 he's seeking is worth the time, headache, and cost of  litigation; paying him, even if you feel  it's unjust, may be the more practical choice.


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