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CalAttorney2
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Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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I bought a 2000 jeep wrangler in Arizona. I took it to a mechanic.

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I bought a 2000 jeep wrangler in Arizona. I took it to a mechanic. He said the jeep is unsafe to drive and gave me a list of reasons why. I have a 15 day or 500 mile warranty. I asked if the car passed emissions testing. The dealer said it is illegal to sell a car that has not passed emissions testing. I asked him for proof that the car passed testing. He has been unable to come up with the paperwork. I bought the car 4 days ago. What do I do?

William B. Esq. :

Thank you for using our service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I would like to assist you today.

William B. Esq. :

The dealer has failed to provide you with an acceptable vehicle, you should be permitted to return the vehicle, or have it repaired to acceptable standards at your option.

William B. Esq. :

Your mechanic is correct - the dealer must provide an emissions test for the vehicle prior to sale: http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/air/vei/dealer.html

William B. Esq. :

In addition, an automobile dealer must provide a vehicle that is drivable. This is the "implied warranty of merchantability" If the vehicle is not safe to drive as found by a professionally certified mechanic, it does not pass this warranty and the dealer must refund your money and undo the sale (the sale is voidable at your option).

William B. Esq. :

I will assume that the dealer made representations regarding the vehicle's roadworthiness at the time you purchased the vehicle - if so, and if these representations were clearly false given what you now know about the car, you can include claims of fraud in addition to these other claims and threaten additional punitive damages for this intentional misconduct.

Customer:

I have a used vehicle implied warranty disclosure signed by the dealership. But, what if he refuses to take it back. He insists on trying to fix it first.

William B. Esq. :

He does have a right to fix it - but given the scope of these damages and failures in the vehicle, combined with the potential fraud claims (again - this would only apply if there were specific misrepresentations of fact) you would have a strong claim to void the sale. Any fixes that he would have to do would need to be such that the vehicle was entirely road safe and driveable by standards of your mechanic - and you would be entitled to money damages for the time that the vehicle is unusable.

Customer:

The dealer kept refering to a autocheck score of 93. He said average is between 40-70 for similair vehicles. He said it's a great score and a great car.

Customer:

I am afraid he will want to fix it. But, wont fix it according to ASE standards. He will delay in fixing it until the 15 days are past.

William B. Esq. :

If the "autocheck score" actually was (or is) a 93, then that would not be a misrepresentation. However, that has nothing to do with the actual condition of the vehicle or his duties listed above. To get the fraud elements to kick in, you will need specific misrepresentations: the body is in great condition, it is in great safety condition, it is road ready, etc.

William B. Esq. :

As far as protecting yourself, the warranty is not keyed on when he finishes the work, but rather on when the defects are discovered. To cover yourself, you can simply write a letter to the dealer stating the issues, enclosing a copy of your mechanics report, and demanding a reasonable warranty on all repairs (check with your mechanic for what would be reasonable - 1 year? I don't know what would work, your mechanic can tell you). You can still demand to void the sale, but I cannot promise it will work. You can also report these practices to the State Attorney General (but this will probably not result in any direct benefit to you.

Customer:

Thank you for your time. I feel more comfortable going into my meeting with the dealer on Monday. I would like to use your services again if needed and will request you.

William B. Esq. :

(Just a quick check on the "Autocheck" website - it is highly doubtful your vehicle scored a "93" - you can demand the dealer provide you with proof of this score, if in fact the score was not a 93, that would be a basis for fraud in and of itself, and you would in fact have a basis to void the sale)

Customer:

He gave it to me with Autocheck Vehicle History report

William B. Esq. :

Thank you for your confidence in my service, I do appreciate it. I wish you the best of luck going forward, and I hope the dealer will resolve this matter quickly. To ensure your request reaches me directly, you can start your question "For William Bradbury, Esq. only ..." and a moderator will notify me.

William B. Esq. :

That would take care of the score in any event - it still seems far out of line with the other Wranglers of that year, but I suppose it is possible.

Customer:

What do I do? Do I just ask him to prove that the 93 score is associated with this jeep. I have the paper work here in front of me.

William B. Esq. :

You can. At the same time, the other issues are far more material - the quality and condition of the vehicle etc. If looking at the documents makes it appear that the score is fabricated or otherwise false (is it for the wrong vehicle (wrong VIN, for example) then it may be worth paying the fee for your own "Autocheck" report and finding out what the score is for yourself. But again, an Autocheck score is not going to be the sole indicator of the quality of a vehicle so even if it is a 93, that does not mean it is in ideal condition, and if the dealer was using the score to intentionally conceal damages and defects, that is also fraud (although it is a little harder to prove than express misstatements of fact, such as "it has new brakes" when it does not).

Customer:

I will go in Monday and see what he says. I will let you know how it goes. I appreciate your time. I am very satisfied with your services. Steve

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