Deceptive trade is the act of withholding important information that could potentially prevent the sale of a product. The Deceptive Trade practices Act protects consumers from businesses who choose to operate using these unfair acts to gain profit. Below are a few of the more commonly asked questions regarding deceptive trade.
Case Details: My son bought a used pick-up for $21,600 ($2,000 down with financing). The car lot is 120 miles from our home. On the way home, the truck started smoking horrible. Can we take this truck back and get his money back? We live in Texas.
Texas law doesn't provide any protection to those who buy used vehicles without a written warranty. However, Texas Deceptive Trade practices-Consumer Protection Act does offer some protection. Your son will have to show that the dealer knew about the engine smoking but deceived him by "fixing' the motor to keep it from smoking during the test drive. Your son should demand that the dealer repairs the issues. If the dealer refuses to repair the pick- up, your son should file a complaint against the dealer with the Texas Attorney General and the DVM. If these agencies cannot help resolve the problem, your son's only recourse would be to sue the dealer deceptive practices and the breach of implied warranty of merchantability.
The vehicle would be considered an "as is" sale if it was used and there was no written warranty. With an "as is" sale, it is the buyer's responsibility to inspect the vehicle before buying it. Part of the inspection would include having a car fax ran on the car. A car fax will expose any past repairs, wrecks, body work and services made to the vehicle.
It is not illegal to sell a vehicle that was previously damaged then repaired. However, if the dealer is aware of damage to the vehicle, he/she is supposed to inform the buyer. A dealer is in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act if he purposely conceals information that may affect the buyers decision to buy a car. In other words, if a dealer knows a car has been wrecked, he/she cannot tell you the car has never been damaged.
If the dealer knew that the car had been wrecked before you bought the truck, but didn't tell you the truck had been wrecked, you could sue the dealer for breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation.
So if the dealer inspected the vehicle after obtaining it (and it is a virtual certainty that they did) and knew about the previous damage, they had a duty to disclose it. If they failed to do so, the buyer can file suit for breach of contract, fraud and misrepresentation.
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