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Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 38232
Experience:  Attorney,17 years experience in consumer protection areas
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I am a 60 year old great grandmother who shopped for a dependable

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I am a 60 year old great grandmother who shopped for a dependable car for my granddaughter and her two children. The vehicle would be used for her to take the children to daycare, get her to school and pick the children up. As a single mother she is trying to make a better life for her family and I wanted to help. I purchased a 2001 Toyota Camry with approx. 227,000 miles on it from a reputable car dealership (Hudson Toyota, Jersey City). The purchase was "as is." The salesman told me the car was a trade in and was in great shape. We test drove the car, inspected it for leaks and worn belts .... assuming that the dealership checked the car when they took it in, and from what the salesman told us, we assumed it was a good buy. The car was listed at $4995. We negotiated the sale to $4000. Note: the original car we were interested in was a 1999 Toyota Tercel for $2300 that they sold right from underneath us ... saw this vehicle the day before, called to see if it was still available and they said yes, so we came out about 4:00pm (me, my 23 year old granddaughter and my 2 year old great grandson). They kept us there for 2 hours looking for the key to the Tercel only to find out that some other salesman was walking around with it in his pocket because he had a sale on it "pending." By the time we left the dealership with this car, it was after 9PM. The two year old was hungry and tired to say the least. the 23 year old was annoyed. Finally we are out of the dealership. The car drove fine for the first few days and then we began to smell something burning. Before we knew it there was a fire under the hood and belts burned off. Had the car towed back to the dealership who told me it would cost over $2k to repair (including tax). Now we are talking about $6K for a 2001 Toyota Camry with more than 227,000 miles on it. I was willing to negotiate returning this vehicle for something else more dependable that we could at least get more than 5 days from. The dealership mechanic said because I purchased the car as is, there was no negotiating. I feel the salesman misrepresented this car by not disclosing the flaws that were clearly evident and appeared to be covered up; i.e., epoxy on the radiator, (which was clearing cracked but made to look like a scratch) and around the gaskets to prevent leakage. Two reputable mechanics looked at the vehicle and assured me the dealership was aware of the problems and did not disclose them in order to make this sale. Do I have a case? I just want them to take the car back, provide an alternative or fix whats wrong with it. I am disputing the purchase with my credit card company.
Hello and welcome! My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
In a typical situation where a car is sold "as is" then the buyer is put on notice that it is their burden to thoroughly inspect the vehicle to make sure it is mechanically sound and roadworthy. If the buyer fails to do so, and they sign to purchase, it is too late then and they take the vehicle as it sits, defects and all, and any later issues are their problem to deal with.
But this case would be a bit different if you have expert testimony that the dealer took actions to conceal any damages and "doctor" the car up for sale. If you can get the other mechanics to testify as witnesses as to what they discovered, then I would opine that you could sue the used car dealer in small claims court for breach of contract based on fraud and misrepresentation. They can sell a car "as is" with any defects, but when they actively conceal them so they aren't readily discoverable and represent the car as fine, then that is fraud.
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