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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 38906
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I'm a private seller of an automobile in State. 24 hours

Customer Question

I'm a private seller of an automobile in Washington State. 24 hours after the sale of my vehicle the buyer says the car has to many problems and he'll give me 250.00 for keeping the car for 1 day and wants his money back. He claims I didn't disclose the electrical or transmission problems. There were no problems that would keep the car from running on the road. We made the initial agreement on 9/18/15 and he purchased it on 9/22/15. He asked me about the service records and I told him about the leaks in the power steering and the ASR light and electrical issue in the turn signals. Non of which interfere with the operation of the vehicle. There were no red flags on the inspection report and two yellow may require future attention flags both of which I disclosed during the test drive. The transmission is green Ok and yellow slight leak, keep an eye. The vehicle runs and drives fine. It's 25 years old and is a Mercedes 500 SL. I sold it for $4500.00, which was $1000.00 off the asking price. Also threw in an extra set of tires valued at $1200.00 At no time during the wait for the deal to close did the buyer ask to have a copy of the service report or request a mechanic to look at it before the check was issued. Do I need to give him his money back? Or is this a buyer beware issue? The car runs great. I can't see into the future on what may or may not happen. He had 4 days before the check was issue to check out his concerns. What do I do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 1 year ago.


The term, "buyer beware," does not apply in modern American law. A misrepresentation or failure to disclose by a seller is grounds to cancel ("rescind") a contract, regardless of what the buyer knew or did not know about the transaction.

However, a good faith effort to disclose material facts by a seller will generally defeat the buyer's claims of misrepresentation or failure to disclose. From what you have described, you can prove that you disclosed, and that the vehicle was inspected by a third party. Therefore, there was no misrepresentation, and no power to rescind/cancel.

Based upon your statement of facts here, you do not have to take the vehicle back -- though, you may have to defend yourself in small claims court, if the buyer sues and tries to prove you misrepresented or failed to disclose.

There's no way to know what the buyer will do. But, I've explained your rights and the law, so you at least know where you stand.

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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