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Can i prosacute an individual who sold us a car with a rebuilt title and lied to us about it being rebuilt?

Indianapolis, IN |

asked individual if it had been wrecked and he said NO, asked if the title was clean and he said YES, my husband looked the title over and nowhere did it say rebuilt or salvage, after going to the BMV and transfering to my name i received my new title in the mail recently and it said rebuilt

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

The old maxim "caveat emptor" prevails in this situation. "May the buyer beware." Unless you received a warranty or statements in writing that may help your position, you're, unfortunately, out of luck. Without a written warranty on a used car, you are buying the vehicle "as is."

Advice on this forum is for informational purposes only and should never be mistaken as a substitute for legal advice. If you are in need of legal advice, you should consult local legal counsel.

Asker

Posted

Just my luck, a lesson learned on my part...Thanks for the help

Posted

I have a lot of respect for Eric, and he knows Indiana law too, but I wouldn't give up too easily. Car sales law is a very narrow area of law. What happens if you buy a vehicle with a branded title and didn’t know it was branded? In most states, there is a title “defect” law that says that if the title that the buyer gets turns out to have a “defect” because it is “branded” with a phrase like “rebuilt” or “salvage” or “lemon law buyback” or “flood” or “odometer” or something similar, then this title defect law can be used to make the seller take back the car if the buyer acts promptly after discovering it. For car dealers who sell branded titles, the laws are far more strict in almost every state too. For a private consumer seller, same fundamental result though. These laws can be strong but each state law can be a little different on this. If you bought a vehicle and the title was not clear and unbranded (sometimes called a “clean” title) then you may be able to claim fraud too. If it is still soon after the sale, the best thing to do is contact the seller and ask them to cancel the sale and return the vehicle and get back your money. If you want to keep the vehicle then maybe you can get the seller to still refund at least a small part of the purchase price, just to be safe and avoid a problem later. If things go bad and don’t get worked out agreeably, then you really need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney near you. I know Steve Hofer is near you and so is Robert Duff. Ryan Frasher is also in Indiana. I think all of them have experience with cases like this. You can also go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers (http://www.ohiolemonlaw.com/ocll-site/ocll-locate_local.shtml) 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, NACA.net). 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. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge, www.CarSalesFraud.com, www.NewCarLemonLaw.com

For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click here http://www.ohiolemonlaw.com/ocll-site/ocll-locate_local.shtml

Learn how to avoid buying a wrecked car, Click Here
http://www.ohiolemonlaw.com/wrecked-car-ripoff.html

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.

Posted

From my experience, most vehicles that have this kind of branded title are worth 50% of market before looking into the actual reasons for the branding, which could affect value further. If you paid close to market price and have an ad that fails to disclose the title brand, it's very likely, in my opinion, that you can make a strong case that important information regarding the title was not disclosed and you should be able to unwind the deal. Get a sit down with local counsel specializing in this area of law for a complete analysis of your situation. It should be inexpensive or free. Find someone here: http://www.naca.net

Asker

Posted

Thanks to all three of you, it just really frustrates me that my husband and i specificly asked if it had ever been wrecked and the individual said NO, and the title did not say anything stating that it had either, it wasnt untill we obtained the NEW title in my name form the BMV that it showed REBUILT...and after further looking on the car we have noticed a possible repaint job on the passenger side of the car.. we did only pay $2,550. for the '02 Pontiac Grand Am GT that still booked for around $4,000. but amd scared that down the road it will have mechanical issues or that I may not be able to resale in the future

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

Noting your concerns, I would strongly consider chasing the individual(s) responsible. These rebuilt wrecks can be very dangerous to you and to others on the road, and at that price, how much effort could they have put into "fixing" it?

Asker

Posted

If I contact the BMV will they be able to send me a copy of the title that was in his name before it was changed in mine so that I may compare and show proof?

Scott Richard Kaufman

Scott Richard Kaufman

Posted

That's best answered by your BMV. Usually, if there is an ongoing lawsuit, they will in fact respond to a subpoena, but, absent a lawsuit, your guess is as good as mine. Try contacting them directly and/or a local consumer protection atty.

Ronald Lee Burdge

Ronald Lee Burdge

Posted

BMV records are public records and you can get a copy yourself by going to the local BMV office. Still, Scott is right that you really need to talk to a local attorney about what your rights are - and also how to use the small claims court process on your own. It might cost a little but the info would very likely be very well worth it.