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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 117401
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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I purchased a used car from a guy who has a side business,

Customer Question

I purchased a used car from a guy who has a side business, buying cars at auction then selling them "as is" and without warranty. I signed the document. Within a very short period of time I discovered a defect in the engine and, while seeking repairs, I also discovered that the transmission was shot. Although I cannot prove that the seller knew about the engine problem he had been driving the vehicle and I suspect he knew about that defect as it demonstrated a strange noise and vibration when starting from a stopped position.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection 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.
Unfortunately, under Louisiana law, a purchase of a used vehicle is considered as is (without warranty), which means that the risk of hidden defect is on the buyer and the Louisiana courts use the term "caveat emptor" or "buyer beware" when discussing these sales. If the buyer does not check the vehicle out before purchase and agrees to purchase it as is without warranty, then that is binding upon the buyer and any defect is up to the buyer and the seller is not liable.
There are some common law warranties that may apply in an as is sale, but they require proof the seller had actual knowledge of a hidden defect at the time of the sale. If you cannot prove the seller knew that the car was not fit for its intended purpose (implied warranty of merchantability) or that he knew of the defect and intentionally concealed it or misrepresented it (implied warranty of good faith), you have no legal recourse against the seller. If you were able to detect the vibration when starting from a stopped position, then that was on you to investigate further before making the purchase if you believed it was a problem. I am afraid that you would not have recourse here unless you can prove it was the seller who tried to fix the car and knew it could not be fixed. If you could prove that, then you could sue the seller for breach of the implied warranty of merchantability.

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