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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 118110
Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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I recently bought a vehicle from a dealer and entered into

Customer Question

I recently bought a vehicle from a dealer and entered into an "as is" contract on said vehicle. Less than 24 hours later the vehicle broke down on me and left me stranded on the side of the road. I had put less than 300 miles on the vehicle at that point.
I had the vehicle towed to a repair shop that found a faulty transmission was to blame. The transmission fault was caused by a part being removed. The transmission cooler, which acts like a radiator to for the transmission fluid, was removed and bypassed thus
causing excess wear on the transmission and caused it to fail. I asked the dealer prior to purchase of any known mechanical issues with the car in which he replied there were none. I also have screen shots of the vehicle being advertised on their website along
with many others as in great mechanical condition.Now it is going to cost almost $5,000 to fix this vehicle. I wanted to know what course of action I could take against the dealer in order to get them to pay for the repairs. Also, am I able to make them pay
for my tow truck fees ($250) and rental car fees ($120). The truck was purchased in Virginia and I currently reside in Virginia.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Generally, a used vehicle purchased as is means the risk of hidden defect is on the seller and the courts use the term "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware" when discussing an as is sale.
HOWEVER, in every as is sale there are some implied common law warranties that apply in VA. The first is the implied warranty of merchantability. To establish prima facie case, burden on plaintiff to show that (a) goods were unreasonably dangerous either for use to which they would ordinarily be put or for some other reasonably foreseeable purpose, and (b) this condition existed when goods left defendant’s hands. See: Featherall v. Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., 219 Va. 949, 252 S.E.2d 354 (VA 1979).
Thus, as you just left the lot and can show this dangerous condition existed at the time you left the dealer, this is one claim you can bring against the dealer to hold them liable for the repairs.
The other implied warranty is the implied warranty of good faith. Similar to the warranty of merchantability, you have to prove that the dealer knew or should have known of the defect at the time of the sale. The fact they advertised it was in good mechanical condition means to the reasonable consumer that it was inspected and on inspection this defect should have been discovered and also you asked about any defects and they told you none existed yet less than 300 miles and 24 hours later the defect was discovered and it existed at the time of sale.
Thus, under these two implied warranties you could seek recourse against the dealer to make them liable to make repairs or rescind the sale.