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Cousin bought a bad used car.

MrOlettaMrOletta Registered User regular
edited March 2007 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello,
My cousin came over tonight to talk to my father about the situation he is currently in. He purchased a used vehicle and it failed him the same night he drove it home. He hasn't been able to get it up and running, and I believe the engine is completely dead/locked. He took it back the next day (towed), and asked for his money back, but they refused. Not only that, but they refused to let him take the vehicle again unless he paid the remainding $800 balance (he paid $2200 cash).

He called the local police, and they went out and didn't make a report. They said it was a civil matter and they couldn't get involved. Is it possible for him to go to the precint and get the names of the officer's who went to the location (he explained it all to him) and get statements from them? He's hoping to take this guy to small claims court. Also, another thing is that the place he bought it from is normally a Tint shop. They gave him a receipt, but I'm curious if you need a license of sorts to sell used vehicles. Something tells me not any business can just sell them.

So currently my cousin is just getting the run around from the court/precint/sheriffs. The court sends him to the P.D., the P.D. sends him to the Sheriff's office, and the Sheriff's office sends him to the court.

I've told him he needs to get statements, and document everything that is happening. He needs proof that the vehicle died within 24 hours and that he made the effort to try to work something out with the seller who refused. I also recommended he take it to a shop so he can get an estimate as to the cost of the repair, but currently they won't let him take the vehicle.

Help us PA!

TLDR: Cousin bought a car that died within 24 hours. What can we do?

MrOletta on

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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    File a claim in small claims court. This is gonna be a pain in the ass.

    You've got a receipt for the car, and a receipt for the towing, which establishes that it died the day you drove it off the lot. Should be fairly open-and-shut.

    Thanatos on
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    NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Where do you live? I'm not sure if your cousin will neccesarily have any legal recourse in a situation like this. If it was a new car, he would be protected by lemon laws that I think most, if not all, states have. However, with a used car with no expressed or written warranty, he may be shit out of luck. Your cousin should get an opinion from a lawyer about this before he wastes more money going after these guys.

    Newton on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Newton wrote: »
    Where do you live? I'm not sure if your cousin will neccesarily have any legal recourse in a situation like this. If it was a new car, he would be protected by lemon laws that I think most, if not all, states have. However, with a used car with no expressed or written warranty, he may be shit out of luck. Your cousin should get an opinion from a lawyer about this before he wastes more money going after these guys.
    You have the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, which I think would come into play here.

    Daedalus on
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    MrOlettaMrOletta Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Sorry, I kept reminding myself to specifiy the location in the OP but I didn't include it, heh. Location is Texas. Unfortunately, I believe he towed the vehicle himself so there's no receipt. Because of that I told him to get proof of the officer's going to the scene and them hearing the story (even though they didn't file a report). I'm hoping he'd be able to get statements from them as proof that he took the car back (they arrived and the car was already back at the point of sale, so they'd be eye-witness that it was returned).

    MrOletta on
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    NewtonNewton Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Newton wrote: »
    Where do you live? I'm not sure if your cousin will neccesarily have any legal recourse in a situation like this. If it was a new car, he would be protected by lemon laws that I think most, if not all, states have. However, with a used car with no expressed or written warranty, he may be shit out of luck. Your cousin should get an opinion from a lawyer about this before he wastes more money going after these guys.
    You have the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, which I think would come into play here.

    I hope you are right for this guys sake. However, used cars are typically sold as is, with no warranties either explicit or implied to protect the buyer. In a case like this, where failure was so fast after the purchase, the buyer may have some protection. But that will depend on the laws where he lives, which is why I suggested contacting a lawyer.

    A quick google search on used car lemon laws shows that in New York state, you seem to be protected if you buy from a dealer. So maybe you will get lucky and have something similar where you live.

    Edit:

    Found this site which relates to Texas. They have this to say:

    What if I’m having problems with my used car but I didn’t buy a service contract and the car was sold “As Is?”

    The “As Is” disclosure is strong medicine and there is probably not anything you can do unless you can prove that the dealer knew or should have known of the problem. You may be able to prove this through service records, talking with previous owners or talking with mechanics or body shop professionals who state that the problem is obvious to a knowledgeable person.

    Newton on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Newton wrote: »
    Newton wrote: »
    Where do you live? I'm not sure if your cousin will neccesarily have any legal recourse in a situation like this. If it was a new car, he would be protected by lemon laws that I think most, if not all, states have. However, with a used car with no expressed or written warranty, he may be shit out of luck. Your cousin should get an opinion from a lawyer about this before he wastes more money going after these guys.
    You have the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose, which I think would come into play here.

    I hope you are right for this guys sake. However, used cars are typically sold as is, with no warranties either explicit or implied to protect the buyer. In a case like this, where failure was so fast after the purchase, the buyer may have some protection. But that will depend on the laws where he lives, which is why I suggested contacting a lawyer.

    A quick google search on used car lemon laws shows that in New York state, you seem to be protected if you buy from a dealer. So maybe you will get lucky and have something similar where you live.

    Edit:

    Found this site which relates to Texas. They have this to say:

    What if I’m having problems with my used car but I didn’t buy a service contract and the car was sold “As Is?”

    The “As Is” disclosure is strong medicine and there is probably not anything you can do unless you can prove that the dealer knew or should have known of the problem. You may be able to prove this through service records, talking with previous owners or talking with mechanics or body shop professionals who state that the problem is obvious to a knowledgeable person.
    The thing about small claims court is that it's a court of equity, not a court of law.

    Law plays a large part in it, but in a case like this, you're going to be talking more about what's equitable than what legally goes to who.

    Thanatos on
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    clsCorwinclsCorwin Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Did his bill of sale have a clause that says, "This vehicle is being sold as is with no implied warranty..." etc? If not, I'd say thats a good chance of a small claims victory.

    clsCorwin on
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    ComahawkComahawk Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    clsCorwin wrote: »
    Did his bill of sale have a clause that says, "This vehicle is being sold as is with no implied warranty..." etc? If not, I'd say thats a good chance of a small claims victory.


    Actually, in a lot of cases you buy a used car as is unless it was stated to the contrary that they would do something if it broke down, or if they gave you any sort of guarantee. Basically, in most places, as soon as that car is in your name, it's your problem if it breaks down driving home.
    I didn't read the whole first post, but did your cousin have a mechanic inspect the car? Test drive it?
    If no to either of these, he is pretty much boned.

    Comahawk on
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    variantvariant Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Aren't used cars, especially by private parties, usually sold on an as-is basis?

    variant on
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    khainkhain Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    variant wrote: »
    Aren't used cars, especially by private parties, usually sold on an as-is basis?

    They are, but as Thanatos pointed out small claims count isn't a court of law, but a equity, so you can argue from a different standpoint.

    khain on
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    variantvariant Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    What kind of tort would you use in such a matter anyways?

    edit: or is that even necessary?

    variant on
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    RoundBoyRoundBoy Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    The receipt of sale is going to be the big part of the puzzle here. If the car was sold as-is, you are not ENTIRELY SOL, but a large burden remains on the buyer.

    If the seller knew there were major engine problems, and did not disclose this, then the as-is part is not as powerful as it seems.

    But if the car was mechanically sound, and sold as is .. he is out of luck.

    That being said, the seller might want to put him in a different car just to save face and stop any bad press from selling a car that dies same day... but it seems like it was a tint shop selling some random car they have on the lot, and your cousin never had it checked out,etc.. sounds like a shady deal, and will work against him getting any money back... and in fact he will most likely owe the remainder.

    RoundBoy on
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    tsmvengytsmvengy Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    I think an important piece of information is: from whom did he buy this used car? Was it a dealer? Used-car emporium? Mechanic shop? A person who posted an ad?

    Also, did he have the car checked out by a mechanic first? This is a necessary step in purchasing ANY used car that doesn't come with a guarantee! If he didn't have it checked out, then that was a huge mistake, evidenced by the situation he's in now.

    tsmvengy on
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    DaedalusDaedalus Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    variant wrote: »
    Aren't used cars, especially by private parties, usually sold on an as-is basis?

    If you are disclaiming a warranty of merchantability, you need to display this extremely prominently. Usually it's with big capital bold letters on the contract/EULA/whatever. Just saying "as-is" doesn't cut it, you need to actually write out "THIS PRODUCT COMES WITH NO WARRANTY, NOT EVEN THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.", with about that much emphasis. If the used car dealer forgot to do this (and judging by the fact that it was a tint shop just selling an old car, this might be the case) then he's got a decent case.

    Note that I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice.

    Daedalus on
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    [GHSC]Ryctor[GHSC]Ryctor Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    How old is your cousin? If he's under 18 just have him disaffirm the sale contract.

    [GHSC]Ryctor on
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    ThanatosThanatos Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Yeah, the law isn't necessarily on your side here.

    However, like I said, the law may not matter. Small claims court is a court of equity, not a court of law, so they are not required to abide by the letter of the law. I'm not saying that your cousin will for sure get his money back, but it's at least worth filing the claim.

    As of right now, he has no car, and the tint place has a bunch of his money, so he should totally sue them. It sounds like they sold him a fucked-up car, they knew they sold him a fucked up car (which is why they won't let a mechanic look at it), and now they're hoping your cousin will just give up.

    Thanatos on
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    Filler Inc.Filler Inc. Registered User regular
    edited March 2007
    Aren't there antilemon laws you could use to back the case?

    Filler Inc. on
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