If I purchased a used car and found out within 1 or 2 days that something major was wrong with it, can I returnthe carand cancel the contract?

UPDATED: Dec 18, 2010

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If I purchased a used car and found out within 1 or 2 days that something major was wrong with it, can I returnthe carand cancel the contract?

I just purchased a used car. I will be paying for it for the next couple of years and would have never agreed to it if I had known the car had problems. The morning after bringing the car home, I heard a noise. You can only hear it when the car is cold so I didn’t hear it on the test drive. I took it back to dealer and he had his mechanic look at it. The drive line needs replaced, which is a $1600 job. Is it too late to cancel the deal? Now I have a car I am paying $300 a month for that I cannot drive. I spent all my money on the down payment so I cannot afford to have it fixed.

Asked on December 18, 2010 under General Practice, Washington


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately Washington State's lemon law only covers new cars and the 3 day right of rescission on contracts does not apply here either.  However, there are other laws that can help. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has what's called the Used Car Rule that requires dealers to provide consumers with a Buyer's Guide with warranty and other types of information. If the dealer has in any way failed to follow the FTC Used Car Rule, you may have the basis for a legal claim.

Next, each state has what are called Unfair and Deceptive Acts and Practices (UDAP) laws. If the dealer has, for example, made verbal promises or didn't tell you about issues relating to your used car, you may have a claim against them.  Finally, Washington's version of the Uniform Commercial Code may provide you with relief.  Get legal help.  Good luck.

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