If a private seller misrepresented the condition of a car, can I get a refund?

UPDATED: Mar 11, 2012

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If a private seller misrepresented the condition of a car, can I get a refund?

I recently purchased a car from a private seller. His advertisement stated “runs great” and when I asked him if the car has had any major mechanical problems he said no. He also stated that the car was in good working order. The test drive did not reveal any problems. On the drive home the check engine light came on, and the electronics flickered on and off. I also noticed a knocking sound in the front right suspension. Do I have any legal remedy?

Asked on March 11, 2012 under General Practice, Utah


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A private seller usually sells a motor vehicle "as is," which means that he or she provides no warranties or guarantees on this vehicle. You are assuming the risk of purchasing this motor vehicle which is why you have it checked out by a mechanic prior to purchase. If you don't have it checked out by a mechanic, the language used in this particular person's advertisement does not appear to be fraudulent. Runs great is language that is considered puffing. Puffing is allowed in advertising because it doesn't speak to certain facts. The major mechanical problems is something he said, so trying to sue him based on a verbal statement will be an uphill battle for you. The best bet is to try to get this fixed as economically as possible.

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