Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in North Carolina

What could i do if i purchased a car from someone and the car was a "Lemon" and the problems were suppose to be fixed before i bought it however he did not fix the car and i had ready paid him and the title was in my name?

Asked on 9/10/13, 7:53 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

First, the lemon law only applies to new cars, not used cars. Second, your post contains no relevant details.

Was this a private party or car dealer? Did you have an opportunity to inspect the car before you bought it? Was the car sold with a warranty or as is? What written documentation do you have to support your claim that the problems were to be fixed by the seller?

Private party sellers as well as car dealers are not insurers that a car will be free from defects. The way to protect yourself is that you get a Car Fax report on the vehicle AND you have the car checked out by an independent mechanic. It also helps to buy a car which still has the manufacturer's warranty or perhaps a limited warranty on big ticket items like the engine and power train.

While the law is tilted very heavily in favor of car dealers and sellers, that does not mean that the seller has a license to engage in fraud or deception. Did you ask to see repair bills or was there some kind of written documentation about this? If not, its going to be your word against the sellers and difficult to overcome unless the defects were very obvious.

If the car is now in your name its your car. You own it. I would now do what you should have done a long time ago and have the car thoroughly inspected by a mechanic to find out what is wrong and what it will cost to fix. Also get the mechanic to give you a report as to what was supposed to be fixed and see if things were replaced or not. You say that the seller did not do the work but perhaps some of the work was done but done shoddily. I am not a mechanic but an ASE certified mechanic should be able to tell if repairs were made (for example if spark plug wires were replaced they will be newer and cleaner). Then you need to show the seller that he promised to fix certain items prior to the sale, that they were not fixed and that it will cost x dollars for you to fix and ask for that sum of money. If the seller balks, then you will have to consider bringing suit.

The limits for small claims is $5000. If the costs to repair exceed that then you should talk to a consumer law attorney. In fact, it would not be a bad idea to talk to a consumer law attorney now and show him/her the documentation that you have. I would also order a Car Fax report to see if the seller was required to see if the vehicle suffered any damage that was not disclosed by the seller. That may give you a stronger case to rescind the transaction.

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Answered on 9/11/13, 10:57 am

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