If an item was sold on craigslist that was said to be working but turns out it had serious internal damage, can the buyer return
4 attorney answers
Buying in a private sale (online or in person) can be risky business because the law is very different from a merchant-dealer sale. 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: https://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/what-is-fraud-1. 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. To find out for sure, you need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney. You can look for one on Avvo unde the Find a Lawyer tab or call your local attorney's Bar Association and ask for a referral to a Consumer Law attorney near you, or you can 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). But you should act quickly because for every legal right a person may have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or those rights will expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please give it a “Vote UP” review below. 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.
If the seller is a car dealer (and Washington State law requires a car dealer who advertises to identify itself as a dealer), then the advertisement could give you basis for a lawsuit under RCW 46.70 and/or under the Uniform Commercial Code. If the seller is a private party, and not a dealer, then you have a claim for misrepresentation. Either way, if the claim is for under $5,000, Small Claims Court is available and does not require (or allow) attorneys.
Unfortunately, the law and the real world do not always align properly. The short answer is YES, you can get your money back or make the seller make the item come up to snuff, legally, but, the cost of making that happen may be prohibitive in the real world.
If the seller was a merchant in such goods there would be an implied warranty of fitness for a particular purpose. But failure to inspect, document, and get a receipt will work against any warranty. Furthermore a private parties will not have to offer a refund. But if the add was misleading a case for unjust enrichment may be made. Small claims would be the best bet.
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