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I bought a used car two weeks ago in WI and the transmission completely broke after the first major (100 mile) trip I took HELP

Brookfield, WI |

I'm a female college student and just purchased a used vehicle from a small dealership for $2200. I have had it for just under 2 weeks. After my return trip to school, the transmission stopped working while refueling. After paying to have it towed to a trusted mechanic, I was informed the transmission would need to be completely rebuilt which would cost $3000, more than what I paid for the car. I have not abused the car in the two weeks I've owned it. I drove it home from the dealership 4 days after I purchased it because I wanted them to replace a few lightbulbs and get me a spare tire. I feel like the dealer should have known the transmission was about to break. Any advice?

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You may be right and WI had some of the best consumer protection laws in the 50 states before Gov. Walker came in and gutted them. It may be very difficult now for you to get protection since he pushed his business friendly agenda through. Try Gordon Leech, a sharp consumer protection atty and friend. Find him here:

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“As Is” can be a hard thing to get around in a used car sale. In most states, your legal rights in a used car sale are mostly determined by the paperwork that you sign. But even in an “as is” sale you might get some legal rights anyway. For instance, in many states an oral representation by the seller may over-ride a written disclaimer of warranties. Also in every sale there is a “warranty of description of the goods” which means that if the sales contract describes the vehicle then the vehicle you get must match the description. Also 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 your warranty rights. Many small lot car dealers don’t comply with the law. If they don’t, then you may end up with a warranty after all 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 on this web site page: If not much money is at stake, you may be able to use your local small claims court to get damages from the seller. Once you have already spent your money, it's not too late to have an independent repair shop inspect it and tell you what they think, but the best time is before you put down your hard earned money. Still, there is more than one way to get rid of a bad car or to get even when you’ve been ripped off. But you need to talk to a local Lemon Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Don’t call a lawyer who writes wills. Or one who handles criminal cases (even though you probably think the dealer who you bought from is a criminal) because there are special laws that cover car dealers. To find out for sure what your rights are in your state, you need to talk to a local Lemon Law attorney who deals with this kind of case. You can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Lemon 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 Lemon 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 Lemon 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 indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck.

What Does a Used Car Buyer Guide Warranty Form Look Like? Click Here and See

What Is Fraud? Read the Avvo Legal Guide

Learn the 3 Kinds of Fraud, Click Here

Free Online 50 State National List of Lemon Law Lawyers, 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

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