Legal Question in Consumer Law in Pennsylvania

I recently bought a truck from a small dealer and today got a carfax report on the truck and the mileage was way off. Last reported mileage was 245000, i bought it with 99000. Is there anything i can do? Not only does it have the mileage issue but the check engine light came on a couple of days after i bought it.

Asked on 5/28/14, 11:50 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Why did you not get a Carfax report BEFORE you bought the car?

Odometers on some cars only go up to 99,000 and then roll over. Obviously the car has more mileage than that. The seller is not an insurer of the car so the check engine light coming on may or may not be reason to void the contract. But the failure to disclose the mileage (if not apparent on the odometer) is a big no no unless the vehicle is over 10 years old. See the fact sheet from the PA DMV below.

I would find out if your vehicle is over 10 years old and if disclosure was required. If it was, I would have a chat with the dealer and advise him that disclosure was required and he did not comply. If the dealer fails to remedy the situation, then I would report the dealer - talk to the local PA DMV about this or maybe the PA attorney general. I am not sure which entity is responsible for regulating.

If disclosure was not required, then you need to get the truck inspected by a mechanic. Find the cause of the check engine light as well as all other problems. Get a written report and find out what it will cost to fix. Then go and have a chat with the dealer and advise of the problems and the mileage issue and see if the dealer will rectify this. Perhaps he will let you have another vehicle and take back the truck or pay to fix the problems. You need to have an idea in mind of a solution you think is fair - whether the dealer will agree is another matter. if the dealer tells you tough luck then you need to take your report, the Carfax report and all other sales documents to a consumer attorney in your area and pay the attorney to review and see if anything is actionable. If so, maybe the lawyer can send a strongly worded letter to the dealer and that may persuade the dealer to change his mind and work this out. If not, then you can consider bringing suit under PA's unfair/deceptive trade practices act.

If you cannot afford a lawyer but think there was something shady, then contact the PA attorney general and provide them with the information. They may be willing to contact the dealer on your behalf.

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Answered on 5/28/14, 10:09 pm

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