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A recently purchased a 2003 Honda Civic approx. 3 months ago

for his son. The dealer...
A recently purchased a 2003 Honda Civic approx. 3 months ago for his son. The dealer sold the vehicle with a reconditioned title (previously involved in an accident). Vehicle was sold as is. No problems until this morning when it was discovered that the driver's side carpet, including under the seat, was drenched in water! We had a severe storm last night that dropped 9 inches of rain! The driver side door & seat were not wet so it was not the failure of the driver side door's weather stripping. The water must have come from under the steering column where the pedals are located. My inspection leads me to believe the problem stems from poor weather stripping of the windshield. I noticed that the weather stripping between the plastic plate where the wipers attach & the windshield is not firmly attached & at one point in the stripping there is a small void (a gap). Question: Is there legal remedy under DTPA or other cause of action?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
5/26/2013
TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12,554
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Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

Did the dealer make any misrepresentations regarding the car?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

He admitted vehicle in accident & that it ran good & I believe he said replaced radiator & windshield.

Hi again.

So I take it that the dealer did not make any misrepresentations. If not, then I'm afraid that you would have no recourse against the dealer. In order to win a lawsuit against the dealer under the DTPA or otherwise, you'd have to prove that the dealer made a material misrepresentation about the vehicle. Based on what you wrote, that is not the case. Without the misrepresentation you cannot win because the sale of the vehicle is "as is," which means that you accept the vehicle with all of its faults, whether they are known or unknown.

I am truly sorry to give you this bad news, but please understand that it would be unfair to you (and unprofessional of me) to provide you with anything less than an honest response. However, if your concerns were not satisfactorily addressed, then please let me know, and I will be happy to clarify my answer. I do ask that you rate me based upon whether I answered your question, and not based upon whether the answer was good news or bad news. Your positive feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for using our service!

If you would like to direct additional legal questions to me in the future, then please type "To VAMD" in the subject line of your question.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

Out of curiosity, if they replaced the windshield quickly & recklessly & dealer was not happy with the workmanship & suspected that the windshield might leak but did not want his employees to spend any more time on it so he sells the vehicle without mentioning his concerns. Would a DTPA or other cause of action arise?

Hi again.

Yes, you would have recourse in that scenario. What you describe is a type of misrepresentation defined by the DTPA. Specifically, the DTPA states:

Sec. 17.46. DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES UNLAWFUL. (a) False, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices in the conduct of any trade or commerce are hereby declared unlawful and are subject to action by the consumer protection division under Sections 17.47, 17.58, 17.60, and 17.61 of this code.

(b) Except as provided in Subsection (d) of this section, the term "false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices" includes, but is not limited to, the following acts:

(24) failing to disclose information concerning goods or services which was known at the time of the transaction if such failure to disclose such information was intended to induce the consumer into a transaction into which the consumer would not have entered had the information been disclosed;
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

If consumer not mention anything about windshield & dealer not certain if it'll leak, see above scenario,is dealer obligated to disclose his concern?
Would dealer be able to get off b/c never tested windshield to see if leaked thereby arguing that he never gave false, misleading statements or did not fail to disclose b/c he did not know if in fact it would leak.

Hi again.

If the dealer knew that the windshield work was shoddy, but did not know for sure that it would leak because he never tested it, then he would still need to disclose that information. The problem, for the consumer, is proving that the dealer knew that the windshield work was shoddy.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


You're right it's a big problem, almost impossible to prove unless the standard is knew or should have known. In a DTPA cause of action can you prove knew or should have known?

Hi again.

I'm afraid not. The law specifically states: "...which was known at the time..." Since the words "should have known" are not used, there is no "should have known" standard.

I wish that I had better news.
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

New scenario, if dealer or sales man mentioned they replaced windshield
& buyer then asked if they had any problems in installing the windshield & they respond,"installed w/o any complications"


Obviously, they had complications which would suggest they knew with great deal of certainty the area around the shield would leak since they installed it & were thus obligated to test for leaks.Q: would they be held liable?


And last Q: If sales man or dealer tells you the car runs great & has new radiator, new windshield & sunroof & electric locks work. In short everything in the car is in working order. Would'nt the law consider such a statement a misrepresentation,although he did not specifically state shield would not leak @ the weather stripping, it can not be used for its intended purpose.


If they represent they replaced windshield then I believe they had a duty to provide one to buyer that would not leak. Q: would DTPA apply? If not, then wouldn't contract law principals apply?

Hi again.

Q: Obviously, they had complications which would suggest they knew with great deal of certainty the area around the shield would leak since they installed it & were thus obligated to test for leaks.Q: would they be held liable?
A: That's a factual question, not a legal question. In other words, the answer depends on whether it truly is obvious that there were complications that should have been disclosed. If yes, then there would be liability. If no, then there would not be liability. The fact finder (i.e., jury if it's a jury trial, or judge if no jury) would need to make that factual determination after hearing all the evidence.

Q: And last Q: If sales man or dealer tells you the car runs great & has new radiator, new windshield & sunroof & electric locks work. In short everything in the car is in working order. Would'nt the law consider such a statement a misrepresentation,although he did not specifically state shield would not leak @ the weather stripping, it can not be used for its intended purpose.
A: Not necessarily. The only questionable statement is that the car runs great. First, that is a very general and vague statement, which could be deemed as merely puffing. Second, whether or not the car runs great has nothing to do with the windshield. The car could run terrible, but have a great windshield, or the car could run great and have a terrible windshield. The statement that the car runs great implies something relating to the engine, drive train, etc.

Q: If they represent they replaced windshield then I believe they had a duty to provide one to buyer that would not leak. Q: would DTPA apply? If not, then wouldn't contract law principals apply?
A: You bring up a good point. I doubt that the DTPA applies in this situation, unless there was a misrepresentation. However, basic contract law could apply because the implication from the statement is that the windshield is in new condition and one would expect that it wouldn't leak. I'd argue that you paid for a windshield that wouldn't leak, and the fact that it does leak means that you did not get what you contracted to get. That argument would probably be a winner.

Please remember to rate my answers, otherwise I will not receive credit for working with you on this issue. Thank you for using our service!
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


The point I was trying to make when I mentioned "cars runs great & has a new radiator, new windshield & sunroof & electric locks work",is that it's expected that a car will be test driven & even then there is an uncertainty of when the engine will fail.So I understand the difficulty in proving dealer knew of defect. But when dealer installs window & claims everything works & it does not, I would hope DTPA would consider it a misrepresentation,b/c they could have easily run a test & determine with certainty that windshield was properly installed. It would not be practical for the potential buyer to run a water test.

Hi again.

Q: when dealer installs window & claims everything works & it does not, I would hope DTPA would consider it a misrepresentation

A: I agree. If the dealer claimed that everything works, and everything does not work, then that is a misrepresentation under DTPA. I believe this is the first time you mentioned that the dealer claimed that everything works. You must bear in mind that there is a big difference between the dealer saying "everything works," and the dealer saying "the car runs great."

If you were to sue, you'd want to try to recall exactly what was stated. That's a factual issue, not a legal issue. The law is clear: If the dealer made a misrepresentation, then you have recourse. Whether or not the dealer said "the car runs great" or "everything works" is a factual issue. Obviously I'm in no position to say what the dealer stated.
TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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