If we just found out that we’re victims of odometer fraud and trade-in the car, do we lose our case to sue the dealer we got the car from?

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If we just found out that we’re victims of odometer fraud and trade-in the car, do we lose our case to sue the dealer we got the car from?

We found out about the fraud when we went to get a trade-in appraisal at a dealer and the carfax showed rollback. The car is in bad condition, as there’s an extra 80,000 miles we didn’t know about, and a dealer is still willing to let us trade it on a new car. We want to trade it but want to make a claim for damages. Can we trade it and still have a case?

Asked on April 15, 2012 under General Practice, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you would still have a case, assuming that you are receiving less on the trade in than would have received had the odometer been accurate and the car had 80,000 less miles. For example, say that if the odometer was accurate, you would have gotten the equivalent value or credit at trade in of $6,000; say that instead, with the true mileage, you are getting only $3,000; in that case, you have been damaged by $3,000 and could potentially sue for that amount.


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