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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20233
Experience:  Explains legal matters based on 14+ years experience.
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I purchased a motor vehicle from a private seller on craigslist

Resolved Question:

I purchased a motor vehicle from a private seller on craigslist for the amount of $1600 cash in Nebraska. I have proof the seller said the vehicle did not need repairs.
They said, "89 Ford Probe GT, Trubo, 5 speed, New tires, New Fuel pump, New clutch, New battery, and rebuilt engine. Low miles, great condition, Sporty with good gas milage and very dependable"..."everything was replaced it was a school project when he was in college for auto. no bogging, no hesitation, no not starting, no hissing, or clanking either."

I test drove it myself and asked questions about things I found odd but the seller had a reasonable explanation for everything that I believed. It drove home to Colorado very poorly and when I had a mechanic check it they said it needed more than $2000 in repairs and were able to show me where it was leaking and worn and why the repairs were necessary for the car to be safe to drive. The seller's wife also forged the signature on the title in his name, instead of the seller himself. Is there any precedent for being able to file suit (or whatever it's called) against the seller for lying to me and being able to get my money back? I have tried to contact them in several ways without a response, to negotiate some sort of return that was reasonable, but I'm trying to explore other options at this point. Thank you for your time.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 6 years ago.

JB Umphrey :

Thank you for using JustAnswer!

JB Umphrey :

I am sorry to learn of your circumstances. There are two different perspectives.

JB Umphrey :

On the one hand, you can attempt to sue the seller for fraud and misrepresentation. In such a situation, you will have to prove that the seller really know these defects and intentionally lied to you about them to get you to buy the auto.

JB Umphrey :

On the other hand, there is "as is" doctrine -- meaning that all used car sales are "as is" unless you also purchased a warranty with the car. In this situation, I presume that you did not purchase a warranty. Thus, the sale was "as is" and you bought the car in its current condition, warts and all.

JB Umphrey :

Is there anything else that I can assist with?

Customer:

Is it any issue of voiding the transaction because of the forgery, in either case?

Customer:

Also- what would be the costs to me, to pursue legal action, relative to the amount I spent? (generally speaking?)

JB Umphrey :

Oh wow, well you'll have court filing fees, depending upon how much you sue for.

JB Umphrey :

Process server fees.

JB Umphrey :

And then if you win, and if he doesn't pay, then you'll have to spend more money tracking down his assets to garnish them.

JB Umphrey :

You should not be surprised to spend about $250 in court fees and cost when all is said and done.

JB Umphrey :

Good luck and best wishes. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!

Customer:

And If I lost would I have to pay anything else? $250 doesn't sound like a bad deal for this type of satisfaction. Is that a typical cost for Colorado?

JB Umphrey :

It's rare that a judge sanctions someone for filing a frivolous lawsuit -- but that's always a risk.

JB Umphrey :

The number I estimated is not unreasonable for a small claims case.

JB Umphrey :

However, if he lives in Nebraska, you'll have to go over there to sue him. The Colorado courts don't have personal jurisdiction over him.

JB Umphrey :

If you are satisfied that your question has been answered, you can select ACCEPT to close this thread and so that I receive credit for assisting you today.

Customer:

Ok, I just need to clarify a few more things. Would the forgery be an issue? I never actually met the person who's name the title was in. "He" was the mechanic. The only person I dealt with was his wife, who produced the title and signed it in his name. Would this make any difference?

JB Umphrey :

It may for the judge. It's too hard to predict because each judge can be so different.

Customer:

I understand. In your personal opinion, would you opt for filling suit or letting it go, if you were in this situation?

JB Umphrey :

It's really hard to over come "as is" sales. To avoid that situation, you're supposed to have the car inspected by a mechanic BEFORE making the purchase.

Customer:

That's true... it was a risky deal.

Customer:

personal feelings aside, the judge would probably opt for a conservative by-the book recourse.

Customer:

Ok, thanks.

JB Umphrey :

You are very welcome.

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