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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 33798
Experience:  Attorney with 15 years experience in various consumer protection areas
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I purchased a used motorcycle from a small independent

Customer Question

I purchased a used motorcycle from a small independent dealer. When I showed up to make the deal, they assured me the motorcycle only had 12,900 miles. After I had paid and signed the contract, they informed me that the mileage said 45,000 and that the instrument cluster had been changed due to a wreck but assured me that the actual mileage was 12,900. I immediately asked for my money back and said I no longer wanted to make a deal. They refused. I felt like I was stuck with the motorcycle. The dealership was going to follow me home with the motorcycle on a trailer as I had no insurance and was unable to drive it home. When we left the dealership, they had failed to tie down the motorcycle properly on the trailer and it fell over and broke some of the body work (an estimated 500 dollars to fix). When this happened, they refused to drive me any further as they said they didn't want to be liable for any other damage and left me stranded with the motorcycle and their trailer in a bad neighborhood. I had to spend 225 dollars for a wrecker to bring me home. Now they are bugging me about returning their trailer but they are the ones who told me to take it. They informed me that if I did not return it by 8pm they would report it stolen. I said I didn't steal anything, you told me to take it. And since no one has offered to pay me for the property damage or the wrecker service, I don't feel obligated to return their property. Do I have the right to keep it until they pay me for both things or can I go to jail if I don't return their trailer? As far as I see we had a verbal contract for me to take the trailer, right? And don't verbal contracts hold up in court?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

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If they gave you the trailer to use, then this is a civil matter and they would have to take it up in civil court to get the trailer back if they wanted to pursue this. This is called "conversion" when someone wrongfully keeps personal property of another person after they request it back.

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Further, you may have an action against them for fraud and misrepresentation if they didn't disclose the altered mileage prior to the sale. But I can't really see how you wouldn't be able to look at the instrument cluster and read what the mileage was prior to buying it.. So something there doesn't make sense to me..

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As for the damage, since you went on with the purchase, they are responsible for any damage since they were negligent in not properly securing the bike. So you can get estimates for the cost of any repairs and then sue them in small claims court if they won't pay for them.

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As for the wrecker, if it was part of the deal that they would transport the bike to your house and they failed to do so, then you can also sue them for the wrecker fees.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Thanks for your response. About the mileage, it was dark outside when we arrived at the dealership so he couldn't really see the odometer that well and no one told us anything until the bill of sale was signed. With the trailer, is there any way I can keep it and title it in my name if they refuse to pay for the repairs to the motorcycle and the wrecker fees?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

Ok, that makes sense....although it probably would be a good idea to check things like that in the future..

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With the trailer, is there any way I can keep it and title it in my name if they refuse to pay for the repairs to the motorcycle and the wrecker fees?

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No, that would be "civil conversion" which is the wrongful keeping of the personal property of another. You can't use "self help" methods to keep their personal property because that puts you in the wrong here too. Your recourse is to sue them in small claims for your damages after you get estimates for the repair costs as well as for wrecker fees if that was part of the deal.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I contacted the dealership today to try and resolve this without going to court. Before we arrived at the dealership, they told me there was 12,800 miles on it. Once we got there I looked at the motorcycle but they didn't give me the key, because they had to go get it because it was at a different location. On the bill of sale, the owner put AS IS NO WARRANTY and then listed 480 TTL fee. When we walked outside after we paid him, they gave me the key and that is when we noticed the mileage discrepancy. I already had paid the money and signed the bill of sale. When I informed him there was no deal because of the mileage, he refused to give me the money back. Then he said just to give him 250 for the tax title license fee and he would give me 30 days warranty on the motorcylce. On my bill of sale, he scratched out AS IS NO WARRANTY and wrote 30 days warranty, but I didnt realize that he only put it on my copy of the bill of sale and not his as well. After this, the damage to the motorcycle occurred when they were transporting it. I have taken the bike to a shop and gotten told that it needs two new tires, chain and sprocket before it will pass an inspection(an estimated 1000 dollars in repairs). This is not including the cost to repair the body that he damaged when he dropped the bike on the trailer and the fee for the wrecker service. If I was to take him to court, would he be responsible for the damage as well as the repairs the dealer said I needed since he wrote on my bill of sale 30 days warranty? Also, isn't it a crime to misrepresent mileage? I have all the messages when I clearly asked him more than once how many miles and each time he told me 12,800. He has also messaged me regarding the trailer saying that he will report it stolen, even though I have all the messages and I only said I didn't have time to bring it to him. I never said anything about keeping it. What would be your advice moving forward? Is there a way to resolve this without going to court?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

If I was to take him to court, would he be responsible for the damage as well as the repairs the dealer said I needed since he wrote on my bill of sale 30 days warranty?

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It would depend on whether the bike would function with out the replacement parts or not. Worn tires aren't something mechanical that would be covered by a warranty and are something you would have had to inspect prior to purchasing to determine if they needed replacement so as to factor that into your price. The chain and sprocket probably aren't defects either, they are just worn out.

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When there is a sale where the seller gives a short warranty, that doesn't mean that they have to replace everything on the bike so you have a new bike. They just have to repair things if they break and are covered under the warranty.

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Also, isn't it a crime to misrepresent mileage?

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Yes, it is odometer fraud if they don't disclose this on the title to the bike and to the buyer that the true mileage is inaccurate or unknown.

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At this point, if you can't resolve it privately, then your only recourse is to file suit under a breach of contract and a damage claim in small claims court. But you will have to eventually give him back his trailer.

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If you feel your original question and any related follow ups have been answered, I would very much appreciate a positive rating on the answer I have provided so I receive credit for my work. If you have a new question the JustAnswer folks require that you start a new question page, but you can request me by putting "For Barrister" in the caption and they will get it to me.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
to summarize, in your opinion, is it better to try to resolve this out of court or do I have a good chance of winning this case if I decide to pursue it?
Expert:  Barrister replied 9 months ago.

I think you have a winning case regarding the damage to the bike and the wrecker charges. Whether you can get the whole deal thrown out will depend on whether they disclosed the mileage issue before you signed the paperwork to purchase or after. If they say they did before, and you say after, then it will be up to a judge to determine who is more believable.

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As for the trailer, you lose there and will have to return it.

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As for the chain, sprocket and tires, you probably lose there as well as they aren't broken, just worn and in need of replacement.

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thanks

Barrister