Total loss vehicle

Asked about 1 year ago - Mount Clemens, MI

I purchased a vehicle in 8-4-2011 dealership showed me a carfax dated 7-30-2011 that stated vehicle in good condition recently found out vehicle is total loss through carfax and that information was put into the system a day before I bought the vehicle on 8-3-2011 now carfax is telling me that this particular source just recently began to report to them and the dealership where I bought the car said they didn't know anything about it and blame it on carfax what am I to do the car is worthless that what I was told when trying to trade it in it was never disclosed to us and we were issued a regular title , can we sue to get our money back and who do we sue

Attorney answers (4)

  1. David B. Carter Jr.


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Sue both of them and let them point the finger at each other. Your suit should come out of an action of fraud, misrepresentation and the consumer protection act. There may be other actions also.

  2. Ronald Lee Burdge

    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Michigan has a Udap law that may help you sue the dealer in your situation but you should talk to a local lemon lawyer to find out for sure how your state laws work and what your rights are. Michigan has several very good lemon lawyers and you can find their contact info at But act quick because you may lose important legal rights two years from the sale date.

    This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The law in your... more
  3. Jacob Matthew Norris

    Contributor Level 4


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Dealers often will hide behind a supposedly "clean Carfax" even though they know the vehicle they are selling was previously wrecked (and sometimes they look for these vehicles because they know they can still be sold at a premium). Carfax itself says that its reports are not to be relied upon.

    A dealer that knows or reasonably should know about prior damage to a vehicle (especially a prior total loss), and that fails to disclose this to a purchaser, touches on many legal areas: unfair and deceptive practices, fraud, and warranty to name a few. Whether you have a claim (and how strong that claim is) depends on a lot of things: what took place during the sales process, the nature of the prior damage (total loss obviously indicates the damage was severe - although states have varying definitions of what constitutes a total loss); whether the damage was repaired properly; how obvious the damage was; and what the dealer knew at the time it sold the vehicle (where did the vehicle come from, were there any disclosures made to the dealer, or pre-sale inspections made by the dealer, etc).

    You will certainly want to have the vehicle looked at by a competent body shop who can tell you the nature and extent of the damage and prior repair work, and whether the vehicle is currently safe to drive. Needless to say, these cases get complicated. I recommend speaking to an experienced auto fraud attorney in your state who can look at the sales paperwork and other facts, advise you of your options, and help determine what steps need to be taken to investigate your issue.

    You are fortunate to live in a state with some highly experienced auto fraud attorneys who may be able to help. Check out the National Association of Consumer Advocates ( for referrals.

    Thanks for the question, and best of luck on getting this resolved.

    The attorney responding is licensed only in the state of North Carolina. This response does NOT constitute legal... more
  4. William Joseph Bieke Jr.

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with attorney Carter. Sue both parties and let the judge sort it out. You don't want to be in a situation in court where the dealership is allowed to blame Carfax, and no one is there to dispute the claim.

    Also, if your vehicle qualifies, the Michigan Lemon Law provides for attorney fees. Contact a local attorney like myself that has had success in suing dealerships and car manufacturers in the past.

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