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Ask Barrister Your Own Question
Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 36240
Experience:  Attorney,16 years experience in consumer protection areas
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I purchased a vehicle from a small dealer about 18 months ago.

Customer Question

I purchased a vehicle from a small dealer about 18 months ago. It appeared to have been in a fender bender, so I had it checked out thoroughly with 2 separate mechanics. I pulled a car fax report on 2 different occasions which showed no e/o accident, and showed a clean title. The dealer stated it was a small accident, so it wasn't reported to the insurance, which is why it wasn't showing up on car fax. The dealer had purchased the vehicle from an auction in Colorado 4 months before I purchased the vehicle. I just went to sell my vehicle, and found at that my vehicle has a rebuilt title, even though the title I have in hand is a clean title. I have not had any accidents in this vehicle. I pulled a new car fax, which now shows the vehicle was in a "total loss" accident 6 months before I bought it, but it was not reported until almost 1 year later, when I had owned the vehicle for 6 months. Do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
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If the car fax showed a clean title when you purchased it, it would be reasonable to assume that the seller looked at the same carfax report and was under the impression it was a clean vehicle.
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However, if you can get records from the auto auction that sold it to the dealer that state they disclosed it was a rebuilt title and the dealer bought it knowing this and then failed to disclose this to you when selling, you could sue them for breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation.
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So it is critical to find out if this was disclosed to the dealer by the auto auction.
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But if he wasn't aware of this, then he couldn't be held liable if he had no idea that it was a rebuilt title.
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thanks
Barrister
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
If the dealer didn't know it was a rebuilt title, and therefore not accountable, then is there any accountability from either the insurance company for not reporting within a reasonable time, or from car fax for not having up to date information?
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
If you look at CarFax's site, they don't guarantee the accuracy of their information, they just say that it is basically their best guess based on the publicly available info.
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As for the insurer, if there was intent to defraud by not reporting it, then you could potentially go after them for fraud through filing a complaint with the Colorado Dept of Insurance for unfair business practices or fraud.
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I can't opine why someone would take a year to report this so it wouldn't show up unless it was the insurer doing so to prevent this from appearing so they didn't have to disclose it at the auction and got a higher price for the car.
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thanks
Barrister