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What are the laws around a private party used vehicle sale in WA? What are my options if i do nothing, what are they if I help?

Redmond, WA |

I sold a vehicle this weekend, it was previously registered in another state (CO) and we are currently living in and the vehicle was sold in WA. The buyer contacted me later the day that it was sold telling me that the check engine light came on and that they expect me to cover the cost or repairs or they will "cancel the sale".

- There was no implied warranty (I never said anything about the car passing emissions, that it wouldn't break down ... etc.)
- All documentation of service and repairs while I have owned the vehicle was included at time of purchase
- I did not do a separate contract or written agreement to show that the sale was as-is / my assumption is that in WA all private party sales of used vehicles are "as-is"
- I went the day before the car was sold to a third party mechanic who the buyer chose to do an inspection of the vehicle. At that time the mechanic told both of us that there were no mechanical issues with the car other than an oil leak.
- The clean title was signed over with accurate ODO reading
- We have a Washington State bill of sale completed for the transaction

I would like to know what my options are responsibilities as a seller are here?

Also I am sympathetic with her situation - if I want to contribute to the repair costs of the vehicle, is there a way to do so without admitting liability and ensuring that I never hear from her about repairs in the future?

Can she forcibly "cancel the sale"?

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Attorney answers 1


Used car sales are presumed to be "as is" sales in the State of Washington. She cannot force the cancellation of the sale unless she can prove you made a material (important) false statement about the car. Sounds like despite doing her due diligence, the car still has a problem. It is now her problem.

If you were to negotiate a resolution, include as a condition of your payment that she must sign a mutual full release of all claims known or unknown. However, unless you made a material misrepresentation about the car (or if there are others facts not disclosed here for consideration that I do not know about) then I would not be inclined to negotiate about this.

A known risk of buying any private party used auto is that it could break the next day.