If a seller misleads a buyer as to the true condition of a vehicle, does the buyer have recourse even if the sale was listed “as is”?

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If a seller misleads a buyer as to the true condition of a vehicle, does the buyer have recourse even if the sale was listed “as is”?

We bought a VW camper from a man who has a website and pseudo business selling reconditioned campers. We bought it “as is”, however, we have the original ad in which he said the motor and transmission had been recently rebuilt. He said the camper had been checked out and was ready to go. Then 4 days later it broke down. The engine had overheated and we came to find out the engine had not been rebuilt in the last year and the transmission was from a junk yard. We paid $17,000 because we thought these big ticket items had been rebuilt. Can we sue? FTC used car law?

Asked on April 6, 2012 under General Practice, Oregon

Answers:

Daniel Bowen / Daniel D. Bowen, Attorney at Law

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The previous answer is correct.  I would write a certified letter to the seller requesting he purchase the VW back.  However, if this is his mode of operation, you are probably looking at a law suit.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the seller of a vehicle materially misrepresents--or lies about in a significant or important way--the condition, features, quality, etc. of the vehicle, he or she has committed fraud. Fraud provides a basis to rescind the contract (return vehicle; get money back) and/or seek monetary compensation, such as the difference in value between vehicle as represented and the shape it's actually in, or the cost to repair. Indeed, fraud often provides the defrauded buyer grounds to seek additional compensation as well--such as attorney's fees. Given that you spent $17k on the camper, it would be well  worth your while to meet with an attorney to discuss the situation and explore your options.


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