Car Dealer Liability for Misrepresentation When Selling a Vehicle

Locate a Local Products & Services Lawyer

Find Lawyers in Other Categories
Most Common Products & Services Law Issues:

Car Dealer Liability for Misrepresentation When Selling a Vehicle

Federal law prohibits vehicle dealers from misrepresenting either the mechanical condition of the car or the terms/existence of a warranty. If you have relied upon a false or misleading claim in purchasing a faulty vehicle, you may have a claim against the auto dealer. Generally, there are two kinds of claims related to deceptive auto dealings: Fraudulent Misrepresentation and Negligent Misrepresentation.

How to Sue Your Car Dealer for Fraudulent Misrepresentation

The act of fraudulent misrepresentation consists of 6 elements and for the plaintiff to recover all six elements must be proven to the court. These elements include:
 

  1. The car dealer made a false representation (representations generally involve direct statements, however, any speech which is intended to communicate a fact or create an impression, illusion, or belief may constitute a representation).
  2. The car dealer knew the representation was false or made the representation recklessly without knowing if it were true at the time.
  3. The car dealer made the representation with the intention that the plaintiff would rely upon it.
  4. The plaintiff relied on the representation.
  5. It was reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the representation.
  6. The plaintiff suffered damages as a result of relying on the false representation. 

Proving these elements and likely would require the aid of a skilled attorney. An attorney can gather evidence of the dealer’s deceptive trade practices, obtain witnesses to testify, and advocate for you in court.

How to Sue Your Car Dealer for Negligent Misrepresentation

If you cannot establish all the required elements of fraud, you may nonetheless have a claim against the dealer for making negligent misrepresentations. The advantage of negligent misrepresentation is that you need not establish that the seller actually knew the representation was false at the time he made it. Instead, you must establish only that the car dealer made the representations under circumstances indicating a reckless disregard for the truth, or that they ought to have known that such representations were not true. The elements required to prove the car dealer made negligent misrepresentations include:

  1. A representation was made.
  2. The representation was false.
  3. The car dealer knew or should’ve known that the representation was false.
  4. The plaintiff relied on the representation.
  5. It was reasonable for the plaintiff to rely on the representation.
  6. Plaintiff suffered damages as a result of relying on the representation.

Proving that the car dealer should’ve known that a representation was false is much easier to prove than he actually knew the representation was false.

Should I Consult an Attorney?

If you bought a defective vehicle because you relied on the misrepresentations of the seller, you may have a claim for either fraudulent misrepresentation or negligent misrepresentation. Consulting a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you identify if you have a claim and gather evidence if you go to court. If you have sold a vehicle and now the buyer is accusing you of making misrepresentations, an attorney can explain any defenses you may have and help you in avoiding liability.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 06-30-2017 10:59 AM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

LegalMatch Service Mark