Skip to main content

I definitely bought a lemon. What can I do?

Virginia |

I bought a used 2002 VW Passat that the dealer told me just need a "tune up". I came out after just signing the papers and as soon as my front tires got off the lot a light came on and said to STOP so I pulled it back over and I had to have it towed home to VA. After the mechanic looked at he said that the car would need a new motor which will be around $3,000.00

Is there anything I can do?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 1


When you buy a used car your legal rights depend mostly on what your sales papers say. All used cars for sale by dealerships are required to have a "Buyer Guide" posted on the window that says if they are selling the car with a warranty or "as is." You can see what that warranty rights form looks like by clicking here: Many dealers fail to fill out the back side of the form properly and that may void their attempt to sell the vehicle "as is." If your window sticker says the dealer gave you some kind of warranty with the car, then in many states you would automatically get what the law calls implied warranties too. That means the car is supposed to run as good as any car like it should normally run and operate. It may also mean that the car is fit for the purpose you intended to use it, depending on what was said and done in the selling process. Even if you didn’t get a “warranty” but you did get a “service contract” (what some automobile dealers call an “extended warranty”) from the dealer when you got the used car, then you may still have the same rights! The federal warranty law applies when you get a “service contract” from the selling dealer at any time up to 90 days after you acquired the vehicle. There is no mileage limit and it doesn’t matter how old the automobile is when you buy it. The only question is, did you get a warranty or a service contract from the dealer? If you did, then you may have more legal rights than you think – and a lot more legal rights than the dealer wants to hear about! You should immediately ask the dealer to take back the VW and cancel the deal but it's all negotiable at that point because you don't have a lawsuit pending in court anywhere and it's all a matter of what you can convince them to do or if you can't. If the dealer won't help you, then you really need to talk to a local Consumer Law lawyer near you to find out what your rights are. You can call your local attorney Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney. Or you can check this web site page for a name on this Free National List of Lemon Law Lawyers (they don't pay to get listed here and most of them are members of the only national association of consumer protection lawyers that exist too): In Virginia you have a couple of really good Consumer Law attorneys (who I know) on this list too.