Skip to main content

Do we have a case where we can take legal action here?

Matthews, NC |

My father and I bought a used 2003 ATV from a private seller. The deal included us trading our used ATV for the other person's ATV, plus we gave them an extra $1000 on top because their ATV supposedly had a higher value than ours. My father and I are not experts in the ATV world, so after a brief test drive of their ATV, we thought it was fine. When my dad gets home that same night he notices some frame damage. And after removing some of the external plastic covers, he notices even more frame damage that was not disclosed by the seller. We contacted the private seller and told him about the undisclosed frame damage, and that we at least wanted our $1k back, or a return of our ATV. The private seller is refusing to comply with our requests because he says the ATV was sold as is.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 2


Hard to say as state laws differ. Find someone good for a low or no fee consultation here:


"As Is" has to do with Contract Law and in most states is not a defense to a Fraud claim, which is under Tort Law. But it can make winning your case a lot harder as a practical matter. Wrecked and repaired ATVs can be dangerous because you don't know the quality of the repair job or the repairman. ATV dealers generally have a higher disclosure obligation than an ordinary consumer would have selling the ATV, but in a private sale the buyer’s legal rights are much different. In a sale between two individuals, in most states the only obligation on the seller is to answer the buyer’s questions honestly and not hide anything that they realize the buyer would want to know about. If the seller lies or hides anything like that, then it could be an act of fraud. Each state has its own definition of what “fraud” legally is, but basically it is a lie by the seller that costs the buyer money. That “lie” could be an outright lie, a half truth, or a concealment of some important aspect of the goods - in most states any of those can be an act of fraud. To learn more about Fraud, you can read this free online Avvo Legal Guide “What is Fraud?” here: Also, if a printed or online advertisement exists, then that might make representations that could be interpreted as a warranty in most states. If none of that applies to the deal, then the buyer may be stuck. There is a big difference in value between a ATV that has never been wrecked and one that has, even when the repairs are done right. It's called "diminished value" and it means your ATV is worth much less than one that was not wrecked and repaired. You probably have the right to either cancel the deal or recover the amount you were overcharged for the ATV. If you want to know what your ATV is really worth, take it to a ATV dealer and see how much they will give you for it after you tell them that it was wrecked. Many ATV dealers won't want to buy it at all. 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. Still, there is more than one way to get rid of a wrecked ATV (or a bad ATV) or to get even when you’ve been ripped off. You should talk to a local Consumer Law lawyer about your state laws and what your rights are, right away. 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 please 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, Attorney,,

For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click here

“What is Fraud” is explained in this Avvo Legal Guide, 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. For a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, click on this link ( and find one near you

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer