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CalAttorney2, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney representing individuals and businesses.
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I purchased an automobile from an individual. They told me

Customer Question

I purchased an automobile from an individual. They told me the only thing wrong with the car was the odometer. I get in the car and go 5 miles and the radiator light begins to blink. A little further and it comes on steady. I stop and look under the hood, there is absolutely no coolant in the car. I add coolant and drive another 5 miles home.
When I get the car home, I realize the radiator is leaking. I notified seller that there was a coolant leak.
Engine light was on when I purchased the car, seller told me that they ran the battery down and that was why the light was on.
Next morning, I took the car to the repair shop. They found a hole in the radiator. As we inspected further, we found that the car had not been service properly. There was a major problem with the PCV system. The check engine light was a problem with the fule system. Also, car had been in a wreck and they neglected to mention that. There is much more.
I told the seller the car was not as advertised and I wanted my money back.
They accused me of harming the car (mechanic says that was impossible - already leaking before I got in it)
Seller is refusing to give me my money back. They offered to give me back enough money to fix the radiator. But with the other things wrong, I expect a full refund.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

While in most cases, the buyer assumes the risk of liability (the seller is not required to make a full disclosure of problems with the automobile), if the seller makes a material misrepresentation concerning the auto at the time of sale (in your case "the only thing wrong is the odometer") the buyer has a cause of action called "Fraud in the Inducement" which makes the contract 'voidable' (meaning you can enforce or void the contract at your option).

You can sue the seller in small claims court to enforce these rights:

Short of filing a lawsuit, you can try to mediate the dispute with them - contact your local bar association and request referrals to mediators, a third party neutral can often help you reach a mutually agreeable resolution. Use the bar association's referrals to contact a mediator or two, the mediator will then contact the other party to set up a mediation session, and you can go from there - hopefully resulting in a formal or written settlement agreement, and save yourself the time and expense of litigation.