Legal Question in Civil Rights Law in Wisconsin

I bought a boat on craigslist and was told that it was in great working order, he started the motor and it sounded good but when we got home and took it to a marine shop we found out the motor was blown.. Now the guy won't even answer any calls or emails from us.. Is there anything legal we can do to return this boat and get out money back. there is no paperwork such as a transfer/purchase stating "as is". we spent money we have been saving from the beginning of the year to buy a boat ~ we also no nothing about boats as we told the seller. Help!!!

Asked on 6/19/12, 5:43 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Jonathan Safran Samster, Konkel & Safran, S.C.

This not a civil rights law question, but it relates to contract law and transactions. In Wisconsin, private sales, as you have described it in your situation, are usually considered to be "as is," meaning that the purchaser assumes responsibility for any unknown defects. I think you are in a position where you would really have to prove that the seller was aware of the engine problem and intentionally mislead you into purchasing the boat and motor, under the assumption that it was "in great working order" as you described in your posting. You may wish to consult with a mechanic at a marine shop to see if they could state that the seller knew or should have known of the engine problems. You would then have to decide whether to file a lawsuit against the seller, in an attempt to get your money back, however, you will generally have the burden of proof. I would recommend that you consult in more detail with the marine shop and then discuss this matter further with an attorney, who can more fully review the information and give you more detailed advice.

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Answered on 6/19/12, 7:32 am

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