We bought our Buick in Aug 10, 1 yr old, 20,000 mi. We were told the car was owned by a women in CT and were unaware of carfax. after nearly 1.5 yrs and 14 visits to garage, I looked a trading in and carfax reported the car was previously a rental vehicle! The contract states under law 417-A that it must be disclosed what the primary use of vehicle prior to sale. Additionally, the car has been a lemon! We want a minimum of our out of pocket expenses covered, goodwill gesture welcomed. Potamkin offered 32,000, which is 13,000 less than out of pocket, as well as initial sales price was inflated, as rental vehicles are worth less, financed by Ally. Potamkin lawyer says he represents dealers in fraud and isn't willing to make us whole. How should we proceed?
You seem to be right on the law but car dealers and their don't always comply with the law and now they are trying to negotiate with you. Having failed to work it out, your best bet now is to talk to a local Autofraud Sales or Consumer Law lawyer near you. You probably have a right to more than what they are offering. Meanwhile, here's some general rules. New York, like a few other states, has some special laws that govern used car sales. They also have a good used car lemon law. The NY used car lemon law only applies to vehicles bought from dealers - no pivate sales are covered - and it only covers major components of your car and there are some limitations in the law. The law requires car dealers to give the buyer a written warranty but the length of it depends on the car’s mileage. The more mileage on the car, the shorter the warranty length. If your mileage is more than 18,000 but less than 36,000 miles, then the warranty is 90 days or 4,000 miles (whichever occurs first). If more than 36,000 but less than 80,000 miles, the warranty is 60 days or 3,000 miles. If more than 80,000 but less than 100,000 miles, the warranty is 30 days or 1,000 miles. The dealer can give a longer warranty if they want, but they can’t give a shorter one. But you have to notify the dealer of your car’s problem while your warranty is in effect - after that, you may not have any legal rights under the NY Used Car Lemon Law. You can read more about the NY Used Car Lemon Law at the link below. New York also requires that a car dealer disclose if their used car was a prior taxi, police or rental car or a buy back under their lemon laws (triple damages if they don’t, NY Code 417-A). Outside of New York, whether your vehicle’s defects make it a lemon depends on your state laws and the facts of your case. There is also a federal lemon law that covers almost all consumer purchases and it can help your used vehicle purchase rights too; it's called the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act. Most of your rights when you buy a used vehicle are determined by the paperwork you sign but when you bought it can matter too. If you bought it very recently, then you may have more legal rights (again, depending on your paperwork and what representations were made to you when you bought it). But that’s still not the end of it. If the vehicle has hidden damage the dealer knew about and didn’t tell you then that could be fraud too. There’s also 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 whether or not a warranty comes with the car. 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. You can see what the Buyer Guide form looks likeby clicking on the link below. There’s only way to know for sure what your legal rights are - talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). 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. 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.
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.
You've received great advice from Mr. Burdge, and you seem to have done your own research on the law of prior rental vehicles.
It appears that you have grounds to bring an action against the dealer, and their attorney's job is to convince you otherwise. You are at a significant disadvantage until you are represented by counsel. Most auto fraud attorneys will accept a case on a contingent fee basis, if you have strong facts, and they think they can prevail at trial.
Consult with an auto fraud attorney in your area. You can find one here: www.naca.net
I am an attorney who is only licensed in the State of Florida. My answer is general legal advice based upon what I perceive your question to be, and should not be relied upon because every person's facts and circumstances are unique, and because specific laws vary from state to state. To completely evaluate a legal issue requires reviewing and evaluating all relevant facts, applicable laws and other information. My answer does not create an attorney-client relationship, and offered for informational purposes only.
I'll assume the 32K offer was if you give them back the vehicle. In addition to the other excellent advice you've received, you should get the offer in writing so that you can use it against them later as part of their pattern of continuing to rip you off even after the initial screw job.
Find someone competent to handle your matter here:
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline