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When is an "as is" bill of sale void?

Murfreesboro, TN |

I bought a car from a dealer who assured me the engine in my car was running great and that it was rebuilt. I told him that I would not buy the car if the engine was bad and he assured me nothing was wrong with it. I drove the car for three weeks and the engine went out on it. Is this considered auto fraud? He refuses to do anything about the car and his excuse is he sold me the car cheap and I bought the car "as is". Come to find out also, the title is salvaged on the car. Do I have any rights? I have lots of evidence to prove he told me the engine was good on the car; I plan to take my case to a small claims court. Can a judge void the bill of sale?

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Attorney answers 2


The judge could void the contract and order restitution. As to if they will is a guess. As a general rule the as-is sale holds. Here, however, you may have a claim for fraud and issues with the oral representations (what people incorrectly term as verbal). If you really want to know your rights, pay an attorney for an hour or two of their time or spend lots of time at the law library to understand the law.

This answer is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice regarding your question and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.


When a car dealer sells a car that has a salvage title and doesn't tell the buyer in advance, most states have a title defect law that says the buyer can cancel the deal if they act quickly. Lying about the condition of a vehicle just to sell it, that can be fraud (lawyers call that fraud in the inducement). Some states also say that an oral warranty survives a fine print disclaimer of warranties too. And you may think you bought it as is, but the dealer may not have complied with the law that lets them sell it as is - and you could end up with a warranty without knowing it. Practically speaking, “as is” isn’t always legally as is, even though every car dealer wants it customers to think so. Still, “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, what was told to you by the dealer, and if the dealer hid anything serious about the vehicle from you. But even in an “as is” sale you might get some legal rights anyway, even if the dealer says you didn’t and even if you thought you didn’t. And besides that, if the seller hid something from you that they knew and also knew you would want to know about before committing to the purchase, then that can be fraud - regardless of any “as is” sales attempt. Also, in some 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 at the link below. To find out 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 please 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. Ron Burdge,,

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

What is Fraud? Click Here to find out

For a Free 50-state National List of Consumer Law Lawyers, 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.