What are my rights when buying a used item from a private party?

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What are my rights when buying a used item from a private party?

Bought a used washer. Had it 6 days before plugging it in. It won’t spin-out. Requested my money back. Seller is private citizen and said no. He said, it worked when he sold it to me and his responsibility is over, once I took it off his property. Is that true, or can I have him arrested? I paid $125 for the washer. I don’t want another one. I want my money back.

Asked on December 1, 2010 under General Practice, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If there was no warranty or other guaranty, and if the seller did not lie--that is, when he sold it to you, he honestly believed it was working--then it is likely you can't do anything. Sales are typically final when made; the grounds for rescinding them--or voiding them and getting your money back--typically have to do with fraud, or making some material misrepresentation (or lie); or else not getting the item you paid for. But most private party sales are explicitly or implicitly as is, especially if the buyer had an opportunity (even if he didn't take it) to test or inspect the item before purchase; for example, you could have insisted that he turn it on for you while you were there.

Even if you think he did lie--that is, he knew it didn't work--it's unlikely you could get him arrested, since the standard of proof and the requirements for criminal fraud are fairly high. (And anyway: getting him arrested doesn't get you your money back.) You might in this case have grounds to sue him for the money, and could bring the law suit in small claims court, which is must less expensive--usually, it's just a small filing fee.


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