Is it legal for a used car dealership to sell a car that won’t pass emissions?

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Is it legal for a used car dealership to sell a car that won’t pass emissions?

I bought a car from a used car salesmen. Before the temporary plate expired I took it in to get emission tested and was told I failed because my check engine light was on. I never seen it lit when I bought it or anytime after that and the lady told me they could have unscrewed the bulb or taken it out before they sold it so I couldn’t see it needed work. Is there anything I can do about it?

Asked on May 2, 2011 under General Practice, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You may have more of a cause of action based upon contract law rather than used car laws.  Indiana - like most states - does not have a used car lemon law.  However, there are various other laws that can help you here.  First, 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 abide by the FTC Used Car Rule, you may have the basis for a legal claim. Second, 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 cause of action.  Inducing someone to contract based upon fraud or misrepresentation is a big deal.  Seek legal help here.  Good luck.


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