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Do I have any legal rights to return a vehicle to someone that sold it to me and its not operating after 2 weeks of purchase?

Summerville, SC |

I bought a car from someone 2 weeks ago. At the time the vehicle was operating, after the 1st week I started noticing that the vehicle was having issues. Now its not operating at all. I'm still owe $1500 on vehicle and will be making payments starting next month. I was told that there was a law in SC that advise I had 30 days if I found any problems with the car to return it to the person or dealership I bought it from.

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Attorney answers 2


There is no such law in South Carolina relating to the sale of a used vehicle. The law in South Carolina relating to the sale or purchase of a used car is based upon the contract of sale and its terms. If you have a written contract which establishes some type of warranty or right to reurn the vehicle, then you have options relating to that. Otherwise, if you had an oral contract (verbal agreement) with the seller who said that you had some type of warranty or right of return withion 30 days, then you could sue to enforce the oral agreement; however, oral agreements are hard to prove because it becomes a contest of "he said vs. she said: without anything in writing. In SC, each buyer is supposed to use due diligence in purchasing an automobile and you are under a duty to inspect and must take the opportunity to inspect before making such a purchase. Otherwise the old maxim of "caveat emptor" which means "let the buyer beware" is applicable. There is no statutory warranty to protect you in this transaction under SC law.

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It sounds like this was a private sale (not from a car dealer) and in most states that makes things much tougher on the buyer. In a private person sale, the law is very different from a car dealer sale. In a sale between two individuals, neither of whom is a car dealer, in most states the only obligation on the seller is to answer the buyer’s questions honestly and not hide anything that the seller realizes the buyer would want to know about. The seller has to tell the truth about the mileage on the car too by filling out correctly and honestly an odometer statement (often printed on the back side of the original vehicle title) for the buyer. And in those states that require mandatory emissions tests in order to get a vehicle licensed, many of those states say that if the emission/pollution equipment was disabled or removed then the buyer may have the right to cancel the sale. If the seller lies to the buyer or hides something from the buyer, then that can be fraud in most states. If none of that applies to the deal, then the buyer may have no recourse after the sale for anything that goes wrong with the vehicle. To learn more about what fraud legally means, check out this Avvo Guide, “What is Fraud?”: To find out what all this means, legally speaking, in your situation, you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who knows the law in your state. 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 Protection 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, 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 me a “thumbs up’ below. Ron Burdge,

This answer is for general purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Click the link to find a Consumer Law attorney near you.