Skip to main content

If I bought a used car from a small town dealer and they didn't tell me it had a salvaged title, what can I do?

Ottawa, OH |

I traded in my car for a newer car from a small town dealer, and he told me that it had been wrecked and it would reflect on the title, almost word for word. However he never specifically said that it had a salvaged title. I have already put in over 400$ in repairs, there is still engine problems, and it is pretty unrealiable. i went to a KIA dealership to possibally trade it in for something better and I was told there that i was paying extremely more for the car than what its worth and that i should contact an attorney. Do I have any legal rights against this dealer, or am I stuck buying a bad car that has no value?

Attorney Answers 3


Don't ever, ever, ever buy a car that has been wrecked or that is a salvage title. The problems that can come with it, are just not worth it. Do you have any legal rights? Maybe. Practically speaking, “as is” isn’t always legally as is, even though every car dealer wants it customers to think so. Still, “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, what was told to you by the dealer, and if the dealer hid anything serious about the vehicle from you. But even in an “as is” sale you might get some legal rights anyway, even if the dealer says you didn’t and even if you thought you didn’t. And besides that, if the seller hid something from you that they knew and also knew you would want to know about before committing to the purchase, then that can be fraud - regardless of any “as is” sales attempt. Also, in some 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 at the link below. 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. If less than a few thousand dollars is involved, you may want to go to Small Claims Court on your own instead of getting an attorney. To find out what your rights are in your state, 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). 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. And please be sure to mark the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge,,

What does a Used Car Buyer Guide warranty form look like? Click Here and see

What is Fraud? Click Here to find out

For a Free 50-state National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, Click Here

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

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

Mark as helpful


If a vehicle is indeed a salvaged vehicle, Ohio law requires the dealer provide the information in writing to you at the time of the sale. If a salvaged vehicle is sold and that information is not provided in writing, you are entitled to an entire refund from the dealer and you have to return the vehicle to the dealer. Contact the Ohio Attorney General's office to report this matter at: 800-282-0515 Local: 614-466-4986. You may also file a complaint online at: I wish you the best.

The statements provided herein are done so for general information purposes only. The statements do not purport to provide comprehensive full legal or other advice. Essa Law Offices, LLC and Edana Essa accept no responsibility for any adverse results or losses that may arise from reliance upon information contained herein. Full legal advice should be taken from a qualified professional when dealing with specific situations.

Mark as helpful


No one in Ohio or anywhere else for that matter, knows auto fraud/lemon law like Ron Burdge. You really need to get in touch with him for a no or low fee consultation.

Find him here:

Mark as helpful

1 lawyer agrees

Lemon law topics

Recommended articles about Lemon law

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