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Ask Law Educator, Esq. Your Own Question
Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118085
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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I bought a car for 11,000, after driving it for two weeks

Customer Question

I bought a car for 11,000, after driving it for two weeks the car started acting funny, making grinding noises. I returned it to seller to be fixed. They claimed they fixed it, but I wasn't happy and returned the car. They told me I would not get my down payment of three thousand dollars returned or another vehicle. How can I recover my money or another car?
JA: What state are you in? And is a local attorney or other consumer protection advocate helping with this?
Customer: I live in Wisconsin, this car dealer is in Milwaukee
JA: Have you contacted the manufacturer?
Customer: No, I would like to talk to a consumer agency that helps with these kind of problems
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 8 months 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.

Legally, under WI law, the purchase of a used car is called an "as is sale." In an as is sale, the courts hold that it is the buyer to beware and that the buyer has the liability for any hidden defects in the car unless the seller gives them a written warranty. Absent a written warranty, the seller has no legal duty to repair or replace the vehicle EXCEPT for very narrow exceptions.

In all as is sales, there are two common law warranties that may apply. First, the implied warranty of merchantability, which is where you need to prove that at the time of the sale the seller knew the car had a material hidden defect that rendered the car unfit for its intended purposes. So, you would need some proof they knew of the defects at the time they sold it to you and then you could sue for breach of the common law warranty of merchantability.

Second, there is an implied warranty of good faith, which is very similar to the implied warranty of merchantability. In the implied warranty of good faith, the buyer has to prove again that at the time of the sale the seller knew there was a hidden defect and concealed it or failed to disclose it when asked. If you again can prove the knowledge of the seller, you can sue under this warranty for the cost of repairs to the vehicle.

If you cannot prove knowledge of the seller, through mechanic's records or car fax records or some means, such as the seller guaranteeing they fully inspected the car and the nature of these defects would have been readily apparent to a reasonably trained mechanic, then you could not succeed in a suit.

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