Consumer Protection Law
Consumer Protection Law Questions? Ask a Lawyer Now.
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.
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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.