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What can I sue the car dealership for?

Union, NJ |

I purchased a car from a car dealership. The salesperson continually lied to me from the the beginning. He said the car had a previous minor accident but is in excellent condition and has no issues at all but I have proof the car has frame damage. I also have a recorded phone conversation that he said this to me. Can I sue the dealership?

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Attorney answers 3


In the "old" days, you could sue for fraud. The problem was, how could you afford to pay your attorney? These days (until the "tort reform" movement gets around to attacking your consumer protection rights) if you sue for this type of "misrepresentation" and win, the bad guy will have to pay your attorney fees. Hope this helps...


Yes. You need to speak to a "lemon law" attorney or one that does civil litigation.

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman


Best bet here is to speak with someone in NJ who handles consumer protection issues, namely auto fraud. Best place to find someone qualified in any state is here:


A used car dealer lied to you and you want to know if you can take them to court? Yes. In fact you may even be able to use your state's used car lemon law. Only used passenger cars which have less than 100,000 miles on it, and are less than 8 years old, are covered by the NJ Used Car Lemon Law. Only vehicles bought from a New Jersey dealer are covered and only if the price was at least $3,000. If the car was ever declared a total loss by an insurance company and you were told that in writing before you bought it, then there is no used car lemon law coverage. The vehicle also must be used for your personal use. Some used vehicles that are not covered by the New Jersey Used Car Lemon Law will still be covered by the federal Lemon Law (the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act) as long as the dealer gave the buyer a written warranty of any length at all. Other vehicle types are not covered. New vehicles have their own lemon law in New Jersey so this used vehicle lemon law does not apply to new vehicles. When you buy a used car in New Jersey you automatically get a warranty from the dealer - even if the dealer doesn’t give you a document that says so. How long is the warranty for? That depends on how many miles were on it when you got it. Here’s a chart that explains it.
- 24,000 miles or less - 90 days or 3,000 mile warranty
- 24,000 to 60,000 miles - 60 days or 2,000 mile warranty
- 60,000 to 100,000 miles - 30 days or 1,000 mile warranty
Note however that if the used vehicle has more than 60,000 miles on it, then you may be able to negotiate for a better price if you are willing to sign a document that gives up the used car warranty that you otherwise would get under the law. The dealer is only allowed a limited number of chances to repair problems in your used car. The dealer must repair any problem with the engine, transmission, front and rear wheel drive systems. If one or more of the following circumstances occurs during the warranty period, then the dealer is automatically presumed to have made a reasonable number of attempts to repair the vehicle, and you've got a lemon. A lemon used car in New Jersey is one where: the same defect has been worked on 3 times and it did not get fixed by the end of the third attempt, or it's been out of service for a total of 20 or more days because of repairs. You only have to fit one of the two possible presumption definitions but the problem must substantially impair the use or value or safety of the vehicle. Repairs are free but the dealer can charge a deductible of $50. There’s also 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 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 ( There’s only way to know for sure what your legal rights are - talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you or 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, If this answer was helpful, please give it a “Vote Up” below. Thanks. Ron Burdge,

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.

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