If a seller advertised a car as having a clean title when it was in fact it was a salvage vehicle, could I sue for fraud and get a refund?

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If a seller advertised a car as having a clean title when it was in fact it was a salvage vehicle, could I sue for fraud and get a refund?

I recently purchased a car from Craigslist, the ad stated “clean title” and is a lien sale. The seller did not disclose the car being salvage. The car was never registered after it was bought from the lien sale. The seller transferred the vehicle to me. I found out it was salvage when I went to DMV to register the vehicle. If I were to take him to court for my full refund, what should I do about the car. Should I hold on to it or return it to him. If I register the car now, could I still take him to court for fraud and get my money back?

Asked on April 27, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If there was fraud--a knowing or intentional misrepretation (lie) about a material (or important) fact--that may provide grounds to either rescind the contract or sue for compensation. It may also be grounds to seek additional compensation--I believe that CA may have an anti-consumer-fraud law that permits extra recovery, and that's something you should discuss with a local attorney.

As a general matter, you can either rescind--or cancel--the sale, in which case you'd return the car and get your money back; or you can sue for damages, which is the difference, for example, in value between the car as and the car as advertised (if any). You can't keep the car and get all your money back, however.

 


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