Legal Question in Product Liability in Alabama

I bought a used car from acar lot. One week after I bought it,I had to have it towed because it would not start. I had it towed to the car lots garage. The mechanic indicated the timeing belt broke. I know 2 excellent mechanics who told me that on this vehicle the timing belt breaking will warp the valves and the head will need to be rebuilt. I also went online and asked a certified VW master technician what a broken timing belt would mean. They indicated the timing belt breaking would require the head be rebuilt as damage to the head is expected. I opted for a warrenty when I bought the car. 3 months or 30000 miles. Apparently, the head damage would be covered but the timing belt alone would not. It has been another week and I am still waiting for their finished evaluation of the damage. When I bought the car, the salesman indicated they had just taken it in trade. The car had not been cleaned or inspected by the service department. I drove the car and discussed a problem with the steering when brakeing. They indicated they would correct the problem and did. I signed an arbitration agreement when I bought the car. I understand let buyer beware. My question is is there a lemon law or grace period to return if not satisfied? Anyway I can get out of this with my money back. Should the dealership be more responsible for bill since it was only a week of ownership and major repairs? thank you

Asked on 3/19/10, 12:25 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jon Lewis Lewis, Feldman, & Lehane, LLC

There is no lemon law for used cars. If you have a warranty, you may have a claim under the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, but if the car has not been repaired for the same issue at least three times, your claim there would be weak. You might be able to return it under the Alabama Uniform Commercial Code as a rejection of the goods or revocation of acceptance under the two sections below. As far of getting out of it with your money back, that will be difficult and depend on the dealer. If they promised you they would fix it, in writing, I think the answer would most likely be yes. If it was only an oral promise, that will be hard to prove as they will likely deny it unless you had an independent witness.

Section 7-2-602

Manner and effect of rightful rejection.

(1) Rejection of goods must be within a reasonable time after their delivery or tender. It is ineffective unless the buyer seasonably notifies the seller.

(2) Subject to the provisions of Sections 7-2-603 and 7-2-604 on rejected goods:

(a) After rejection any exercise of ownership by the buyer with respect to any commercial unit is wrongful as against the seller; and

(b) If the buyer has before rejection taken physical possession of goods in which he does not have a security interest under the provisions of this article (subsection (3) of Section 7-2-711), he is under a duty after rejection to hold them with reasonable care at the seller's disposition for a time sufficient to permit the seller to remove them; but

(c) The buyer has no further obligations with regard to goods rightfully rejected.

(3) The seller's rights with respect to goods wrongfully rejected are governed by the provisions of this article on seller's remedies in general (Section 7-2-703).

(Acts 1965, No. 549, p. 811.)

Section 7-2-608

Revocation of acceptance in whole or in part.

(1) The buyer may revoke his acceptance of a lot or commercial unit whose nonconformity substantially impairs its value to him if he has accepted it:

(a) On the reasonable assumption that its nonconformity would be cured and it has not been seasonably cured; or

(b) Without discovery of such nonconformity if his acceptance was reasonably induced either by the difficulty of discovery before acceptance or by the seller's assurances.

(2) Revocation of acceptance must occur within a reasonable time after the buyer discovers or should have discovered the ground for it and before any substantial change in condition of the goods which is not caused by their own defects. It is not effective until the buyer notifies the seller of it.

(3) A buyer who so revokes has the same rights and duties with regard to the goods involved as if he had rejected them.

(Acts 1965, No. 549, p. 811.)

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Answered on 3/24/10, 8:19 am

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