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Dealer sold me wrong model car then what was signed for, can I return it?

Vancouver, WA |

3 weeks ago I purchased a 1999 Oldsmobile Alero. We agreed on 2800 for it with all registration done. The car at time of purchased was marked as 4 cylinder 2.4L model as stated in paper work and I wanted that model for mpg but within 2 weeks of owning it I had major problems. 1 Tire blew out and I had to spend 400 replacing all 4 tired, check engine light came on twice, needed new struts and was quoted 700 for them and fuel economy was far below what they advertised to me. Yesterday I had mechanic look at it and the engine was a 3.4L 6 cylinder model not the 4 cylinder model that the papers said. that's 10mpg then what I wanted. Since all the paperwork is wrong and the model they sold was wrong (Right vin# though) can I legally force them to take car back and refund me?

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Attorney answers 3


Wow, sorry to hear about all your trouble. It will be hard to give you more of a qualified opinion wiouth seeing your purchase agreement, but in my opinion, it would be difficult if not impossible to return the car and void the contract. The contract sounds like it had the correct VIN, and the type of motor that is in the car may or may not be a material breach. The dealership will argue the error, if any, was in your favor since the motor was bigger (and thus more valuable) than what they represented. Have you contacted the dealership yet to discuss? Perhaps they will give you some money back given what you bargained for was not what was delivered. As for the mechanical difficulty and the old tires, that is why it is so important to have any used car properly evaluated by a mechanic you trust so you know what you are getting into.

As an aside, the quote for struts seems pricey to me as struts are pretty easy to replace. I'd get another quote on the struts. Best of luck to you and I hope everything works out in your favor.


Arthur D. Leritz

Legal Disclaimer: Mr. Leritz is licensed to practice law in the State of Washington. The response herein does not constitute legal advice nor does it seek to establish an attorney/client relationship, but rather offers educational insight only. Please feel free to visit Mr. Leritz's website for additional information:


In most states you'd have a chance at cancelling the sale because the description of the goods was not correct and it was important to you that the engine was smaller and more gas efficient. But the law can be different in each state so you really need to talk to a local attorney near you about what your state laws say and what they will let you do. 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, 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. And be sure to indicate the best answer to your question so we can all be sure we are being helpful. Thanks for asking and Good Luck. Ron Burdge,

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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.


I agree as usual with Ron Burdge. Rinse, Repeat...

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