Sacramento, CA asked in Consumer Law, Products Liability and Lemon Law for California

Q: I bought a used car the guy assured me there was nothing major was wrong

he assured me Nothing major was wrong with the vehicle. I had no one to check the car out for me I'm single mother of two young children, saved up because I needed a car and 1 months later the transmission is out I believe he knew the transmission was going out and did not tell me is there anything I can do?

1 Lawyer Answer
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Very sorry to hear about your situation. Buying used cars is difficult particularly if you are not mechanically inclined and cannot detect defects on your own. But lets talk about what you can do now. If you bought this from a dealer, you probably got a very limited EXPRESS warranty (meaning stated). Most dealers limit the warranty to 30 days or maybe if you were lucky, 90 days. If so, you have a warranty problem and need to take it back to the dealer to fix it.

But you never mentioned a dealer, so I assume that you bought the care from Joe Blow on the corner. Unfortunately, you have very little protection because Joe is not a retail operation.

You can sue him to cover the cost of repairing the transmission if you can show that he knew it was going bad, but the question then becomes one of proof and where you are going to get it. First, what did he tell you about the condition of the car? Next, what does the mechanic tell you is wrong with the car and how obvious was the problem? Finally, did Joe sell it to you "as is" ? Because if you bought it as-is then you don't get any kind of protection, like no implied warranties, and you are stuck with what you got.

In buying a used car, you always need to make a thorough inspection of all the working parts of the car. I got caught myself because I did not take a CD and the player did not work, but I did not find out during the warranty period. And I know better. So do not be too hard on yourself. If you don't know much about car mechanics, take someone with you who does know, or take it to a mechanic to have a check over, but that will be at your expense.

The opinions stated herein are based on the facts contained in the question and no independent investigation has been conducted. New or different facts could change these opinions substantially. DO NOT MERELY RELY ON OPINIONS POSTED ON A PUBLIC FORUM, CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY FOR IMPORTANT PERSONAL RIGHTS.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.