Is there any consumer protection when purchasing a pre-owned car via private party?

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Is there any consumer protection when purchasing a pre-owned car via private party?

My husband and daughter purchased a used car from an individual they located on Craigslist. The car appeared to be in excellant condition, and it was priced within reason of other cars of the same make and model. I understand that used sales are typically “as is” unless stated otherwise. Now the problem – the car needs a new engine and catalytic (sp?) converter. This expensive is more than what my daughter paid for the car. Is there any law that suggests that there is a “reasonable expectation” that someone who buys a used car will be able to register it (car won’t pass emissions test)?

Asked on December 5, 2010 under General Practice, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking private sales are not usually covered under the state's lemon laws and used cars are even less likely to be covered.  Tennessee is no exception to the general rule I am afraid.  It applies only to new cars.  But there may be other avenues that you can go depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your case.  I do have to state that the adage used in these matters is "buyer beware" which is why you should always have a car checked out by a mechanic before you buy it.  Did you here?  It does not sound like you did.  But let's see if any other law can help.  Did the seller have any form of expertise in the matter of cars so that you would have relied on his representation that the car was in working order and could pass emissions?  Or that the engine had been recently checked out and that the car worked fine?  Any paperwork he may have showed you regarding this that could be fraud or misrepresentation in contract law?  I would seek help from an attorney in your area.  Good luck. 


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