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I bought a used vehicle last week, and the engine blew. Can I take it back within 30 days if it's financed through a 3rd party?

Chico, CA |

I read article ab 1447 that says something about 30 days/1000 miles for buy here pay here dealerships in California.

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Filed under: Fraud Lemon law Used cars
Attorney answers 3


Beginning January 1, 2013, all BHPH places in CA are required to give an express warranty for a minimum 1,000 miles or 30 days. If your place has sent financing out and does so regularly, that law may not apply. Regardless, if this happened to your vehicle there are a number of possibilities where you may still be able to get relief. Feel free to get in touch with my office for a no fee document review.


I'm sorry to hear about the problems you are having with this car. I agree with Scott that this particular law would not apply to your situation, but that other laws may apply. Did the contract say that the car was being sold "as-is"? If not, then you can rely on the "implied warranty of merchantability", which says that a used car has to be in a condition to pass as a used car in the industry. In other words, it can't have such a defective engine that it will fail within a week, as your car did. That assumes that the engine failure was due to conditions at the time of sale, and that you didn't, for example, drive it without oil or coolant and that caused the engine failure. Even if it was sold "as-is" you may still have some rights, but a careful review by an attorney will be necessary.

I would recommend hat you have a mechanic give you a written estimate that explains the cause of the engine failure and the cost to replace the engine. Then gather up all the purchase paperwork and take that and the estimate to an experienced Lemon Law attorney in your area. If Scott is in your area, I would highly recommend you call him. Most of us do not charge for such a meeting.

In the meantime, feel free to visit my website and read my blog, When Bad Cars Happen to Good People.

Best of luck!

--Doug Sohn


Generally, there is no cooling off period when buying a vehicle in California. When you buy a used vehicle, dealers will have to offer you a contract cancellation option if the vehicle is under a certain dollar amount. However, most people do not purchase the contract cancellation option, since it only gives the buyer a few days to cancel.

If you don't have a cancellation option, then the next thing to look for is whether the dealer committed some sort of fraud in the transaction. Our firm specializes in reviewing contracts to find fraud and other misrepresentations.

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