Skip to main content

Can I sue for buying a used car that had way more damage than originally told?

Livonia, MI |
Filed under: Used cars

I just bought a used car from a private selller, the guy told me it was in a "minor accident". I drove it a few days and noticed some noises that seemed out of place. I took it to a well-known and trusted mechanic in my area. The "minor accident" was a total lie. The needed repairs and shoddy work done to it to make it appear "ok" were estimated in the $3000-$5000 range because of extent of the damage and the attempt to cover it up.

I confronted the seller and asked for my money back - he refused and told me "good luck". Do I have any legal course of action? Even though he told me it was a minor accident right to my face as well as my fathers?

I do not want to lose my money, I cannot in good conscience sell this car to someone else and NOT tell them how much work this car needs.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. In most states, it will depend on lots of fact you did not post ( for example was it sold 'as is' or with a warranty?) was your sale and its terms in writing or oral?

    FWIW, you should have mechanic look at a car BEFORE you buy. IN my state you would have no legal recourse. Take your documents to a MI attorney for a quick read on the bill of sale and the facts as you represented here--many attorneys provide free consults. Good luck.

    NOT LEGAL ADVICE. FOR EDUCATION AND INFORMATION ONLY. DO NOT RELY ON ANY ADVICE YOU RECEIVE FROM ME OR ANY OTHER ATTORNEY IN THIS FORUM. Legal advice comes after a complete review of the facts and relevant documents and an expressed (written) agreement of representation that forms attorney-client confidentiality. Neither of these two events can occur in this forum. Mr. Rafter is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia and the US Federal Courts in Virginia. His answers to any Avvo question are rooted in general legal principles--NOT your specific state laws. There is no implied or actual attorney-client relationship arising from this education exchange. You should speak with an attorney licensed in your state, to whom you have provided all the facts before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. Mr. Rafter is under no obligation to answer subsequent emails or phone calls related to this or any other matter.


  2. An as is clause does not allow a seller to get away with fraud. If you can show that the seller knew of the full extent of the damage you can sue for fraud. You should contact a consumer attorney in your state. Good luck.

    This response does not create an attorney-client relationship.


  3. Yes!! You should sue him this is a material misrepresentation.


  4. Yes, you can sue the seller for fraud, breach of express warranty (a description "minor" accident is an express warranty), and violation of Michigan's Consumer Protection Act ("MCPA"). The MCPA allows you to recover costs and attorney fees, in addition to your damages. You may also want to obtain a Carfax or Autocheck report to see if the prior accident was a "total loss." If so, depending on the extent of the damage, you may also be able to sue the insurance company who insured the vehicle at the time it was totaled, if it turns out that the insurance company should have obtained a salvage title. There may also be a dealer in the chain of title who would be liable if the vehicle should have had a salvage title. Here is a link to an article that I wrote about "rebuilt wrecks" that you may find helpful: http://www.lemonlawlawyers.com/PDF/litigating_rebuilt_wrecks2.pdf.

    Your best bet would be to contact an attorney who specializes in consumer/lemon law to review your case and advise you as to your rights and options. Most attorneys, including our office, do not charge a fee for an initial consultation.

Lemon law topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics