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Can i take an auto dealer to court for not fixing my vehicle in a timely matter. they have had my vehile for over a month now.

Hagerstown, MD |
Filed under: Lemon law Used cars

i got my car from a buy here pay here. my transmission went out. i had it for 3 months when it went out and its covered under a 2 year warranty for the transmission and engine . they have had it for a month fixiing the transmission.everytime i call them to see when i can pick the car up i get the run around when the car is going to be ready.what can i do?

Attorney Answers 2

  1. Sounds like you can take them to court. In a used car sale where the vehicle is sold with a warranty when you buy it, when things go wrong with the car then your obligation is to give the warranting dealer a reasonable chance to fix what is wrong and the warranting dealer’s obligation is to get it fixed within a reasonable number of chances and within a reasonable amount of time. If the dealer doesn’t, then you can deem that to be a breach of the warranty. Most states also have adopted a version of the “shaken faith doctrine” that says that even if things get fixed you can reach a point where your confidence in the reliability of the product, or your confidence in the ability of the dealer to live up to their warranty, has been so shaken that you can deem that to be a breach of the warranty. If the warranting dealer breaches the warranty then you a right to elect a remedy. Generally you can chose between recovering damages (and keeping the car) or cancelling the sale (what lawyers call “rescission”), but to cancel the sale in most states the car has to be in substantially the same condition as it was when you first got it. Some of this may depend on where your warranty comes from too. Generally it will come from an oral representation, a description of the goods, an actual warranty document or the Used Car Window Sticker form. A handful of states have used car lemon laws, too (HI, MASS, Minn, NJ, NY, RI). But don’t take the dealer’s word for what your warranty covers. Look to see if anything was written down anywhere about what the warranty covered for sure. There’s a federal law that requires all car dealers to post on the window of all used cars they are selling a special “Buyer Guide” form (it’s often called a Used Car Window Sticker) that discloses whether or not a warranty comes with the car. Many small lot car dealers claim they sell cars “as is” and then they don’t comply with the law. If they don’t, then you may end up with an extra warranty too and you may even have the right to cancel the sale. The back side of the form has to be completely filled out and many car lots, big and small, fail to do that too and that can also trigger your right to cancel the deal. You can see what the Buyer Guide form looks like by clicking on the link below. If you have any kind of warranty rights against the selling dealer, then the next question is whether or not your problem is covered by the warranty from the dealer. If it is, then they have to fix it. But you could easily have warranty rights and not even know it. Also, every state has a “Udap” law although each one is a little different too. These laws are intended to make it illegal for a merchant or business to do anything that is unfair or deceptive or unconscionable to a consumer in a consumer transaction. That law might help you too. You need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud) and show them your sales papers. 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, You can also look for one here on Avvo under the Find a Lawyer tab. Or you can call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you. 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. If this answer was helpful, please give a “Vote Up” review below. Thanks for asking and Good Luck

    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. Simple answer. Call Jane Santoni in MD. She knows what you need to know and is as good as they come in this area of law, nationwide. Tell her I said "hello."

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