Legal Question in Product Liability in Michigan

I bought motorcycle from a guy in Indiana and he said there was nothing wrong with the bike besides the headgasket. He want 1200 for the bike and I give him 800 cash and leave a check for 400. I leave the title with him for him to send to me after he cashes the check. On my way home the bike breaks down die to a transmission problem. I get ahold of him and he tells me that he rebuilt the transmission himself. Knowing this I wouldn't have bought the bike. I try getting ahold of him today about taking the bike back to him andt here is no answer after 3 calls. So I call my bank and have them cancel the check. He gets back to me and I ask to bring the bike back and to get my money back and he says no... After arguing for a while I just tell him to come pick the bike up and keep the 800 that I gave him. and he wont even do that. Is there any way I could get my money back or get the title?

Asked on 8/10/09, 2:36 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Audra Arndt Audra A. Arndt & Associates, PLLC

If the purchase/sale occurred in Indiana, then that is the law that applies. In Michigan, generally a contract is final when the money exchanges hands. In Michigan, you would be considered to have purchased the bike "as is" from the second you drove off. However, if you can demonstrate the seller knew the bike was about to break down and hid a material fact from you, then you may be able to void the contract. Generally, buy "as is" is just that: you get what you walk away from. You were fully entitled to have it examined by a mechanic or ask any relevant questions before entering into a contract. Simply because he did not mention he rebuilt the trans himself does not mean he acted wrongfully or withheld a material fact from you.

If this went to Court, a Judge would likely want the parties to be in the position they were before the contract: you with your money and the seller with his bike. However, since the bike is perhaps worth less than it was when you drove off, the Judge would have to determine whose fault the decline in value was. Honestly, if I was the Judge, I'd tell the seller to keep the $400 and the bike - like you said. That was more than a fair offer, and let's everyone move on with the important things in life.

Put all communications/offers to the seller in writing for your protection.

Good luck.

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Answered on 8/17/09, 10:11 pm

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