Although some used car dealerships are honest and trustworthy, others are not. Sadly, a large number of these dealerships have a reputation for selling poor-quality vehicles at inflated prices, as well as not honoring warranties.
Regardless of where you live, used cars are sold “as is,” meaning that once you drive off the lot, you are on your own should something go wrong. The good news is that with the American lemon law, you may have a way to get financial compensation if the vehicle repeatedly fails to meet standards for quality and performance. Although this law typically applies to new cars, your attorney can use it if you received a written warranty on your used vehicle.
However, even with this law in place, many owners of used car dealerships refuse to make things right when someone buys a vehicle that does not meet set standards. If you purchased a used car and it now has a legitimate problem, the best advice is to seek guidance from a reputable attorney who specializes in this area of the law.
Suing a used car dealership gets complicated. For dealers who sell new vehicles, their reputation is on the line. In comparison, most used car dealerships already have a bad reputation, so getting sued has little impact. The other challenge is that written in your contract is a clause that states the seller has zero responsibility for the vehicle’s condition after it sells, meaning you bought it “as is.”
To win your lawsuit, you must prove certain things. First, you have to prove to the court that you suffered a financial loss. Second, you have to show that the used car dealership is legally responsible for those damages. Of the two, the latter is most difficult. Although winning this type of lawsuit is hard, some things will increase your odds.
Initially, your attorney will gather information and any relevant documentation from you. He or she will also pull up reports on the vehicle that see its history. If you can prove that the vehicle was in a previous accident with significant damage or that the same problem that you are dealing with got fixed several times to no avail, your chance of winning improves.
Your attorney will determine if the lemon law is applicable in your state for used vehicles. In addition, if you experienced a breakdown immediately after driving off the lot, you may have the opportunity to argue that the dealer committed fraud. Although the dealer will try to use the “as is” clause in the contract as a defense, there is a good chance that it will fail.
The attorney that you hire will also look into any oral or written promises made to you by the dealer, such as stating that the car was in good condition. If you can show to the court that the promise was nothing more than a lie, your chance of winning the lawsuit increases. Fortunately, your attorney can take advantage of loopholes to help you recoup financial loss.