What to do if I sold a motorcycle without a warranty but now the buyer wants to sue for a fuel leak?

UPDATED: May 27, 2012

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What to do if I sold a motorcycle without a warranty but now the buyer wants to sue for a fuel leak?

I sold a motorcycle to a woman who saw the motorcycle and was aware of cosmetic flaws, saw it driven, but refused to drive it herself since she was out of practice; she did not have in inspected by a mechanic. Several days ago she contacted me to say that it was leaking fuel (I never had an issue) and that she was going to sue me. I asked if it was leaking where i parked it where I was nice enough to deliver it and she said no. I looked it over and couldn’t see anything obvious, then I asked if she knocked it over and she said she didn’t but someone else could have. Does she have grounds to sue?

Asked on May 27, 2012 under Business Law, Montana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

When there is no warranty or other guaranty, a private seller would typically only be liable if there was some fraud--that is, if the seller knew of some material (or significant) issue or problem, and either omitted to reveal it or actively concealed it. In that case, the buyer could rescind the contract--return the motorcyle, get her money back.

So in the absence of a warranty, if you did not knowingly conceal or misrepresent anything, she would seem to not have any grounds to sue. That may not stop her from suing--it's fairly easy to at least file and initiate a lawsuit--but you should have a good defense to liability.

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