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Can i get my money back for a faulty car purchased from a private seller

Sebastian, FL |

March 26th around 9pm I bought a 2002 Honda civic from a private seller for $5,000( the only money i have, i even had to barrow some money from family!). March 27th 3:30pm the car breaks down! Come to find out the transmission is blown and is going to cost at least $2,500 to fix. From what mechanics tell me, transmissions do not just blow out without warning. I strongly feel the seller new something was wrong with the car but did not say anything. When i test drove the car It seemed to me, like her said, "in great working condition". IS there any way i can get my money back?I need help ASAP I have two children and NO CAR =(

Attorney Answers 4

  1. You may be stuck if you can't prove that the seller knew the transmission was going bad and hid that fact from you. Buying a car in a private sale can be risky (online or off) because the law is very different from a car dealer purchase. When a person sells a motor vehicle to another person, and the seller is not in the business of selling vehicles, then in most states the only obligation on the seller is to answer the buyer’s questions honestly and not hide anything that they know the buyer would want to know before deciding to buy it. If the seller lies to the buyer or hides something from them, that can be fraud in most states. A half-true statement can also be an act of fraud in most states when the intent is to mislead the buyer. To learn more about Fraud, read this free online Avvo Legal Guide “What is Fraud?” here: The seller also has to tell the truth about the mileage on the car too by filling out correctly and honestly an odometer statement for the buyer. And in those states that require mandatory emissions tests in order to get a vehicle licensed to drive on the road, many of those states say that if the emission/pollution equipment was disabled or removed then the buyer may have the right to cancel the sale. If none of that applies to your deal, then you may be stuck. If not much money is involved, you may be able to file a claim in your local small claims court. Otherwise, you may need to talk to an attorney. In fact, to find out for sure what your rights are and how to use the court process, you really do need to talk to a local Consumer Law or Fraud law attorney. You can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers ( and find one near you (lawyers don’t pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association for Consumer Law lawyers, Most Consumer Law attorneys also know Fraud laws. You can also call your local attorney bar association and ask for a referral or look on under the Find a Lawyer tab. But act quickly because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. And don’t bother talking with an attorney who handles just other areas of law because, frankly, Fraud Law and particularly “car sales fraud law” is a special area with its own laws, regulations, rules, and strategies and tactics. If this answer was helpful, please give it a “Vote Up” below. Ron Burdge,,,

    Go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers

    How can you avoid buying a lemon used car? Click here to find out

    How to Avoid Buying a Lemon Used Car in 7 steps, click here

    This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your state may differ and your best answer will always come from a local attorney that you meet with privately. If you need a Consumer Law attorney, click the link above to find a Consumer Law attorney near you.

  2. As Mr. Burdge noted, you may indeed be stuck. That said, at some point this too will pass. Next time you buy a car, from a dealer or private party have it checked out before you spend money on it. Such an inspection should run around $100.00. Anyone who will not allow such an inspection is someone you do not wish to do business with...

  3. If you want to know how the Lemon Law works in FLORIDA, go to this link: | The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Florida. Responses are based solely on Florida law unless stated otherwise.

  4. Unfortunately, your legal recourse is quite limited.

    You may save money by buying a used car from a private individual, such as through the classified section of your local newspaper. However, you should be aware that private sellers do not have to provide you with a Buyer's Guide, and do not provide implied warranties under state law. Therefore, it may be even more important to obtain warranty promises in writing and to obtain an independent inspection prior to purchase.

    Best thing to do is to repair the vehicle by having the transmission rebuilt, don't get a used one. Call around to several shops to get different prices. You may be able to get a better deal elsewhere and they may even tow it for free to their shop.

    Good luck!

    Zonald Spinks, Esq. Phone: (813) 413-5352 Fax: (813) 658-5893 Twitter: @ZonaldLaw Skype: Zonaldlaw Disclaimer: legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. This information is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation, it is only provided as information.

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