Purchased 08/14. Discovered the tampering with SES light in September when checking computer system for codes. Found P0650 (Malfunction Indicator Lamp Control Circuit) and a P0304 (Cylinder#4 Misfire detected). Wire was disconnected from instrument cluster and was taped (I have photo). This was obviously done to keep SES light off for a P0304 misfire code. Once I hooked the wire back up it stayed on constantly. Since I am a former ASE Certified Auto Technician I initially decided to fix the vehicle and absorb the cost myself. It was a real challenge to figure out what was wrong, but repairs totaled slightly over $3000 for parts and machine work. I feel that the dealer and/or previous owner should bear this cost as I would not have purchased the vehicle with the SES light on.
You will have to prove that the dealer or former owner knew about this issue. If the car has had several owners that may be very difficult. The cost and time associated with filing a lawsuit may just cause you to throw more time and money at the issue with little chance of you being compensated fully. Sorry that you had to go through this. There is no lemon law that applies to used cars
Please note that this answer is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or an offer to form an attorney-client relationship. It is always advisable to seek the help of an attorney licensed in your state before proceeding on any legal matter.
Lemon law does not apply to a used car
If you have a case of fraud or misrepresentation, you may bring that evidence to court (small claims) to get a ruling and attempt to seek a money judgment.
This is a punitive damages case. I would not go to small claims, i would file large, very large, claims, and incinerate them (or at least try to). The standard is "knew or should have known," and, under the "should have known," the dealer, being a supposed expert in the field, should be on the hook. Especially if it inspected the car, and it had to, before buying it himself. Nope, nope, nope, this ain't a small claims case at all.
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