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I bought a " as is" used car and it broke down 15 minutes after buying it. What rights do I have in getting my money back?

Spokane, WA |

Dealership currently has it now and it has been three weeks, they still dont have a clear answer on what is wrong with it. I am a broke college student in need of a car and I want to know if I am able to demand my money back. It didn't do its basic functions in what I intended to use it for. What rights do I have with buying an "as is" car?

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Attorney answers 3


It'll be tough. You need to talk to a local car sales fraud or lemon law attorney. “As Is” can be a hard thing to get around in a used car sale. In most states, your legal rights in a used car sale are mostly determined by the paperwork that you sign. But even in an “as is” sale you might get some legal rights anyway. For instance, in many states an oral representation by the seller may over-ride a written disclaimer of warranties. Also in every sale there is a “warranty of description of the goods” which means that if the sales contract describes the vehicle then the vehicle you get must match the description. 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. You can see what the Buyer Guide form looks like on this web site page: If not much money is at stake, you may be able to use your local small claims court to get damages from the seller. 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 bad car or to get even when you’ve been ripped off. But you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Don’t call a lawyer who writes wills. Or one who handles criminal cases (even though you probably think the dealer who you bought from is a criminal) because there are special laws that cover car dealers. To find out for sure what your rights are in your state, you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). 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.

What does a Used Car Buyer Guide warranty form look like? Click here and see

What is Fraud? Click here to find out

Are you a victim of fraud? Learn the 3 kinds of fraud, click here

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

Avoid Buying a Lemon Used Car - Click Here to Find out How

Learn Car Sales Fraud Tricks - Don’t Be 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.


You should be able to revoke acceptance (give the car back). The dilemma is that the dealer may say you bought the car "As-Is" so he won't buy the car back. You are then stuck going to court. You did not say how much you paid for the car. Additionally, I am not licensed in WA. I do not know what the small claims court limit is. You can find that out quickly by calling the court. If you are under the amount allowed by the small claims court, you should be able to handle the matter yourself.

The information provided should not be considered legal advice. I am not licensed to practice in any State other than SC. The results of your case will depend on the presentation of evidence, the law and other factors that may change depending on an in depth analysis of the facts of the case. Please see an attorney before making legal decisions.


Tough spot. Get a low or no cost consultation from a consumer attorney in Spokane. There are some good ones there. Find one here:

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