I agree with my colleague, your situation is likely better handled by an attorney experienced with Florida's Lemon Law. I have updated the tag above associated with your question to include "Lemon Law."
Good luck with your situation. If you have any questions or want to discuss your case, don't hesitate to give me a call.
This answer does not, nor is it intended to, create an attorney-client relationship or constitute attorney advertising. Rather, it is offered solely for informational purposes. The facts of each case are different and unique, it is critical to consult with qualified counsel with whom information can be shared and assessed under attorney-client privilege, so that competent and quality advice can be obtained on which you can make informed decisions
Can you do anything about your lemon used car? That depends. There is a used car lemon law in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island, but not in Florida. But that doesn't mean you are stuck. You have to look at your sales paperwork. If there is no warranty there, then think about any oral representations that were made and ask if you are the victim of fraud. There is a long technical definition for fraud in each state but basically it is a lie that costs you money. If your purchase was “as is” don’t give up. Practically speaking, “as is” isn’t always legally as is, even though every car dealer wants you to think so. In most states, your legal rights in a used car sale are mostly determined by the paperwork that you sign, what you were told 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 you thought you didn’t. And besides that, if the seller hid something from you and also knew that you would want to know about it before making the deal, then that can be fraud. Also, in some states an oral representation may over-ride a written disclaimer of warranties. 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. There’s a link below to see what the Buyer Guide form looks like. 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 Dana Manner or Steve Fahlgren or one of the other dozen other local Florida Lemon Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Their contact info is at this web site page where there is a Free Online 50 State National List of Lemon Law Lawyers (www.USLemonLawyers.com) 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 Lemon 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.USLemonLawyers.com
What does a Used Car Buyer Guide warranty form look like? Click here and see
What are the 3 kinds of Fraud? Click here to find out
Did a business treat you unfairly? See what your Udap rights are to protect yourself, click here
Free 50 State List of Consumer Law Lawyers? Click Here
How can you avoid buying a lemon used car? Click here to find out
Learn the tricks of car sales fraud so you don’t become a victim, click here
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.
http://www.naca.net is a great place to find someone good to handle your issue. I also know and recommend David Gruskin in St. Pete. He does excellent work. Feel free to say hello from me.
A used car of this age is not covered by Florida's lemon law. If the seller is a licensed Florida dealer, he would have been required to attach a used car disclosure form indicating either that the car is sold "as-is" or describing any limited warranty. Even if sold as-is, a seller would be obligated to disclose salvage title, but not necessarily accident damage if the vehicle had not been declared a total loss.
Consider contacting a consumer lawyer. That person might be able to come up with some ideas of getting out of the transaction such as a revocation of acceptance or rescission due to fraudulent inducement (assuming specific statements of fact about the car were made by the seller that were false and that the seller knew were false).
I disagree with the statement "Even if sold as-is, a seller would be obligated to disclose salvage title, but not necessarily accident damage if the vehicle had not been declared a total loss. " I believe anytime a car dealer discusses the prior condition, history or use of the vehicle, it has a duty to disclose all conditions materially affecting the value of the vehicle. See Section 501.976, Fla. Stat. Also, an application of the Johnson v. Davis case to a car dealer would require the same disclosures. However, oftentimes dealers claim in their paperwork that they did not make any representations about the vehicle and disclaimed all express warranties. It is very important that you discuss your potential matter with an attorney who can review your timeline and all of the documents in the transaction. I have written some articles on what to look out for when buying a car. http://www.fortheconsumer.com/article-read-before-you-sign.htm http://www.fortheconsumer.com/article-read-before-you-sign.htm and http://www.fortheconsumer.com/article-car-buying-tips-ii.htm
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