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TexLaw, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Experienced in consumer protection litigation and direct negotiations on behalf of businesses and consumers
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My family and I are in Virginia where we purchased a used car

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My family and I are in Virginia where we purchased a used car within the last two weeks. The salesman stated that certain repairs would be made to the vehicle (a broken tail light, a broken LED for the clock, and a malfunctioning mirror). We dropped the car off for repairs so that they could fix the tail light and were told to bring the car back for more repairs after the LED arrived. So we took the car home and waited. Having heard nothing on further repairs, I called the dealer and after much bouncing around the various departments, finally learned that the dealer would not be making the repairs after all. Basically, we were lied to. What options do we have such as reselling the car to them, etc?

Thank you for your question.

Let's start out by looking at a legal classification of your situation. When someone provides you with oral promises that are additional to a written contract for the sale of goods and does not honor those oral promises, the claim that must be made is called "fraudulent inducement to contract." In other words, the oral promises were a lie which induced you to enter into the contract. There can also be a claim for "negligent misrepresentation". This is where someone makes a representation to you with the intent that you rely on the representation, but that person was being unreasonable in making the representation and this causes you damages. You can make deceptive trade practice claims for the misrepresentation. Finally, you can certainly make a breach of contract claim based on the oral promises, but this will have problems because most written auto purchase agreements contain a clause which says "there are no agreements other than what is written here." This keeps evidence out of the oral promises.

So, taking that out of legalese, what does that mean? You can sue them to cancel the contract and they have to take the car back and return the money to you, less the amount of reduced value caused by you using the vehicle. Another option would be to go out and get the repairs done elsewhere and then sue the dealership for the cost of those repairs.

You can handle this by first making a written demand to the dealership clearly laying out what was promised to you and how they failed to keep the promises, and then giving an ultimatum that if they do not complete the repairs by a date certain, you will have to take legal action against them.

Then you proceed by either suing to cancel the contract, or suing for the cost to repair the vehicle to its promised condition.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for you quick answer. So how do I sue? Also, is there some sort of form letter that I can use for the written demand portion that you outlined?

There are no easy answers to your questions.

You need to figure out exactly what you want to sue for. If you are thinking about handingly this yourself, then I would definitely think about trying to file the claim in small claims court, which has a $5,000.00 limit but is based on forms and does not require a lawyer. This would be a suit for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation asking for the cost of repair of the vehicle. To file this suit, you would go to your local small claims court and pick up the claim forms to fill out.

If you are going to sue for the return of the vehicle on a fraudulent inducement basis, you really need to hire a lawyer to file the lawsuit for you and represent you in court, as this kind of lawsuit cannot be filed in the District Court small claims division. Rather you would file in the general division of the District Court or you would file in the Circuit Court (if the claim you are making is for more than $25,000.00). There are no forms per se for this type of lawsuit which are free on line. Rather there are examples on line or you can go to a pay for form website like legalzoom, etc., to get a form for this particular kind of claim. You will have to review and understand all the pertinent Rules of Civil Procedure when making your filings, doing discovery, etc., and when and if you make it to trial, you will have to know the Rules of Evidence. The courts do not waive these rules just because you are not a lawyer, and you will be held to the same standard as a lawyer when before the court.

In regard to the demand letter, here are some examples/forms: url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0CDkQFjAC&
TexLaw and 3 other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

How do I get a receipt for your legal services in case I need to sue and want to claim the expense - not that $40 is unreasonable...?


You'll need to contact customer service for that information. I'm not an actual employee of the website. I'm an independent attorney working from my own office in my spare time.


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