Is there any legal recourse to take against a private seller who sold me a car in “very good condition” that isn’t?

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Is there any legal recourse to take against a private seller who sold me a car in “very good condition” that isn’t?

Per my mechanic, the frame/unibody rust and rot, plus rusted brake lines, makes it a danger to drive. He said if it was hit it would crumple like a paper bag because of a lack of structural soundness. Can I sue the seller in small claims court? I really just want my money back and give them the car back.

Asked on December 26, 2011 under General Practice, Connecticut

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, when you purchase a used motor vehicle from a private party, then you run the risk of purchasing this motor vehicle "as is" and without warranty. Bottom line, statements like "very good condition" in the legal field are referred to as "puffing". Basically these are like opinion statements to get you to buy the item (advertisers use puffing all the time) but it does not mean these are factual statements. Ultimately, your mechanic should have looked at the motor vehicle prior to sale. If the car passed an emissions test and was not falsified, you may be out of luck. You can certainly contact the town prosecutor or state attorney general, show the agency your mechanic's report and see if it is something those individuals find worth pursuing on your behalf.


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