What can I do for buying a car that doesn’t run after being told it was in great condition?

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What can I do for buying a car that doesn’t run after being told it was in great condition?

I recently bought a car from a man who told me it was in great condition and said he had receipts to prove he put new parts on it. I drove it for the first 2 days and it turned off on me. Not only that but the speedometer is no longer working or the dash lights. I took it to get checked out and the mechanic said the engine needs to be rebuilt and the man had told me it had a new engine. I’ve tried contacting him but he ignores my calls. What can I do?

Asked on February 23, 2011 under General Practice, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) You could sue him. If he knowingly made material (or important) representations (or statements) that are false--and a claim that there is a new engine, if there in fact was not--then that would be fraud. Fraud in a sale, such as a car sale, generally gives the buyer the right to at least seek monetary compensation (e.g. cost to repair or dimunition in value); for important enough fraud, it may give you the right to rescind the transaction, return the car, and get your money back. However, as noted, if the seller does not voluntarily step forward to do the right thing, you would have to sue--there's no other mechanism for enforcing your rights.

2) Independent of getting compensation or your money back, if you feel the fraud was sufficient criminal, you could report this to the police and see if they feel investigation as a possible crime is warranted.


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