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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 29818
Experience:  Lawyer
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I bought a used car with clean carfax report and the

Customer Question

I bought a used car with clean carfax report and the understanding I was buying a car w/o damage/accidents. It has been less than a year and my car has acquired less than 3k miles since I bought it. The car has started making lots of noises. I took it into a Toyota service center, and they told me that the car had been in an accident and has some body damage that was not repaired properly. The dealership is saying it is not covered by my Toyota Care warranty, but the damage appears to be before I bought the car. The service center I went to told me that the car was previously damaged on a report they saw and had been denied certified status at one dealership. It was later repaired and given certified status at the dealership that sold me the car. The dealership denies any repairs or knowledge of any collision but after the car was hoisted up, I examined the under carriage, and the damage obvious.It seems a blatant denial on their part. What are my options here?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.


I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

The dealer wouldn't be responsible for what's on the Carfax report, because they can't control whether other people use Carfax to report repairs. There aren't any laws that require that service or any other. So what you'd need to do is get evidence to establish that a car with that type of damage should NEVER have been certified in the condition that it's in. It would help if the dealer you talked to could give you an affidavit. The reason to do that is, if they're certifying the car as fit when it's clearly not, then that's fraud. And if you are able to prove that they committed fraud, you're entitled to return the car for a full refund. If they won't take the car back, you can sue them. If they made efforts to cover up the damage, that's also fraud.

The statute of limitations on breach of contract is five years, so you still have time to bring a case.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Lucy, thank you for your response.
You stated that I should get an affidavit stating the car should not have received certification. How do you recommend I go about this. Should I go to a Toyota dealer for this or a non-Toyota retailer. Also I have had the car for while about 6 months or so, and somehow didn't notice the damage. Will this hurt my case since it could be argued the damage occurred under my ownership, since I didn't inspect the undercarriage prior to purchasing the car. Is this a matter I can take to small claims court or do recommend I get legal representation.
I spoke to someone at the dealership yesterday and he assured me he will call me back to clarify this issue, he has not called me back since we last spoke and I am beginning to doubt that he will. What should be my next step.
Thank you,
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You'll need mechanics who can say that this damage has been there for a while, because they might try to claim that you did it. It would help if the person who told you they shouldn't have certified the car would put a statement in writing for you. But you could take it to other mechanics and have them give you statements of the damages, along with whether it should've been certified in the first place.

The Small Claims Court limit in Illinois is only $10,000, so if the car cost more than that, you'd have to file in the regular district court. But you're not required to hire a lawyer to file a case.

You may want to call the dealership again. Another option is to send a demand letter via certified mail, with a deadline for a response. Or you can go to the courthouse and file your lawsuit as soon as you have the evidence you need.