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Car dealership and smog shop working together to pass smog

Los Angeles, CA |

I purchased a car on april 13th. When I test drove the car, it ran fine. 3 days after owning it I noticed puffs of smoke coming out of the tailpipes after sitting at a light for 2-3 minutes. The car still runs fine and the same till today but it smokes only at extended idle. The dealership told me the car passed smog fine and the car was sold as is. They will not take the car back nor fix the problem.

I believe the car was illegally smogged when they sold me the car. I took the car to the California state referee office to have them check the car 2 weeks after purcase. The car failed smog test with them.

I am getting run around with the used car dealer. What can I do about this? I know when I bought the car I bought it AS IS but I did not agree to a car that failed smog.

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Attorney answers 3


I blogged recently on this issue here:

They simply cannot sell it without properly smogging. If they cheated that's even worse. How do we prove this? It can be an expensive proposition.

Maybe they cheated somewhere else too? I tend to think these guys are so crooked they always try to make an extra hundred somewhere which is why I look at all documents to see if they did all things legally. Feel free to get in touch for a no fee review with my statewide consumer protection office.


Of course you have to be able to prove it but if the illegally smogged it then that might be fraud. When someone lies to you about something that was important to you in deciding to buy their car, lawyers call that Car Sales Fraud or AutoFraud. Unless the lie is obvious, you have the right to rely on what they tell you to be the truth. Each state has its own definition of what fraud is but basically it is a lie that costs (or can cost) you money. If you find out quickly, you may have the right to cancel the sale if the vehicle is still in substantially the same condition as it was when you got it. If not, or if you don’t find out for a long time, then you still have the right to recover damages for being lied to. Your damages will typically be the cost to repair the car up to the condition that you thought it was in when you bought it, or the difference in value of the car (between good car and bad car). But your rights can also be affected by the paperwork you sign too and you may get other warranties or legal rights that you may not even know about. There are often other ways to cancel a deal that exist legally too. 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 who handle Car Sales Fraud cases ( 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, 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. And be sure to mark your best answer so we can all be sure we are doing good work. Thanks for asking and Good Luck.

For a Free Online National List of Consumer Law Lawyers Click Here

There’s a Law to Stop Unfair Sales Practices, Click Here

What Is Fraud? Read this Avvo Legal Guide, Click Here

How To Avoid Buying a Lemon Used Car? Click Here

Read a Car Dealer Slang Dictionary, Click Here

Learn the 3 Kinds of Fraud, 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. For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click on this link ( and find one near you


If they knew the car could not pass a smog and did a fraudulent smog test then you definitely have a valid claim against the dealership. You will, however, need to prove the vehicle was improperly smogged prior to your purchase. At this point, I would do two things: 1) Order a Carfax vehicle history report to see the prior history of the vehicle you purchased; and 2) Take the vehicle to a smog technician to see if he/she can inspect the vehicle and provide you with an opinion as to whether the vehicle could have passed prior to your sale. This will give you an idea as to what problems were present in the vehicle prior to your purchase and whether the dealership knew about them. If the dealership did know about them, then it needed to disclose them to you...even if the car was sold with an "as is" sticker on it. I have been specializing in this area of the law for over eight years. If you would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me for a free consultation. I wish you luck!


William Blasser

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge


Bill's idea about Carfax is a good tip but don't bet the farm on what you see in it. No online vehicle history report is totally accurate and complete. Not every state reports its data and not every insurance company reports its data either. Carfax and AutoCheck, etc, are private companies providing what data they have been able to obtain and it may not always be accurate. To make things worse for you, they update their data continually so what you see on a report today may not be what will be on it tomorrow. You can use it for general guidance, but don’t bet your life on it. If you want to pull a vehicle history report do all three,,, and (that last one is the only "real" NMVTIS web site and there are lots of fakes out there who will take your money).

William Nicholas Blasser

William Nicholas Blasser


Mr. Burdge brings up a good point about running other vehicle history reports. If you can run all of the three he refers to, that would be ideal. Good luck!

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge


Thanks for the complement, Bill.

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