What is the maximum amount of money I will have to pay for car repairs regarding the sale of a vehicle?

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What is the maximum amount of money I will have to pay for car repairs regarding the sale of a vehicle?

I sold a car with an expired smog certification and am now being sued because it won’t pass smog. The buyer spent $3000 on repairs so that the car would be smog ready. I sold the car to him for $1350. I am now being sued for the full cost of repairs. The car is 15 years old. Is there a maximum amount of money I can be sued for the repairs? Can I be sued for the full amount of $3000 even if I sold the car to him for only $1350?

Asked on April 19, 2012 under General Practice, California

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Assuming the buyer of the car that you sold proves that you are legally liable to him or her under certain legal theories of recovery, the measure of damages assuming the judge properly applies the law would be the "lesser" of the costs of repair or the diminution in value of the item sold at the time the transaction was concluded.

If you sold the car for $1,350 then it would appear that assuming liability is proven against you, the damages would be the value of the car in the condition that it was sold which could be a lesser amount assuming you failed to disclose all that was wrong with it to the buyer. The $3,000 costs of repairs exceed the price of the car. As such, the $3,000 figure should not be the proper measure under the law.


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