We received a letter from an attorney stating that a vehicle we sold privately in June of 2007 had been cosmetically repaired to hide a defect and now they want $6000.00 plus legal fees for out of pocket costs for repairs incurred, because apparently there was a leak from this cosmetic repair that caused the engine to blow up???? (We purchase the car used at 50,000 miles, sold at 120,000) The letter asks we make contact within 10 days… The letter also states that the buyer is well within his rights to sue for fraudulent misrepresentation under the contract? We made no contract… I made a simple bill of sale with buyers names, vehicle information, purchase price and a vehicle sold "as is" statement.
We're not exactly sure what to do, we've never been sued or threatened with a law suit. This occurred in the state of Washington.
Appreciate any advice.
Below is what occurred:
Mr. John Doe called on the morning of June 16, 2007, after seeing our 2000 Jeep Cherokee for sale in an Auto Trader advertisement. He asked to meet him at the McDonald’s to view the vehicle.
Mr. Doe inspected the outside of the Jeep and the engine compartment thoroughly and then inspected the interior thoroughly. I told Mr. Doe that I was aware that the A/C worked, but for some reason exhausted very little air out the interior vents. I also told him I was quoted a price of between $700-800 for the interior vents repairs, following this statement, I told Mr. Doe that this vehicle is being sold in “AS IS” condition. He said O.K. Mr. Doe stated he knew someone who did Jeep repairs.
Mr. Doe then asked to drive the Jeep, I gave him the keys, he started the vehicle and said he was told what to look for by a mechanic friend , at this point Mr. Doe stated his mechanic friend said to check the transmission by depressing the brake, putting the transmission into drive and accelerating the engine. Mr. Doe did this in drive and in reverse. I asked if there was a problem and he said, “No, I didn’t hear anything”. Mr. Doe then backed the Jeep out of the parking spot and drove around the shopping mall parking lot. At one point Mr. Doe did several, aggressive, figure eight circles. I asked what he was doing and he said he said he was checking for power train issues, 4 wheel drive, etc.
Mr. Doe then drove the vehicle to a McDonald’s parking spot and parked the vehicle, but left the Jeep running. Mr. Doe & I discussed purchase price and we agreed on a price of $8,000. Immediately, I restated the comment of the Jeep being sold in “AS IS” condition. I restated the “AS IS” comment, because I didn’t want him to think I was going to pay for the interior vent repairs. Mr. Doe agreed and said he would need to call his bank to get the money. After several minutes on the phone with his bank, he said that they could not get the money today and it would be Monday before they could cut a check. Mr. Doe asked if I would take a $500.00 check and he would take the vehicle and pay me the balance on Monday. I told Mr. Doe I would take a check to hold the vehicle until Monday, but would need payment in full to release the Jeep to him. Mr. Doe decided to give me a check for $500.00, but that it would be a check from his mother, because he was going through some financial problems. Mr.Doe’s mother, that’s what he told me, drove Mr. Doe to the McDonald’s to view the Jeep.
As I arrived home, Mr. Doe called and said he really wanted to purchase our vehicle that day. We had plans in the afternoon and our bank was only open until the afternoon as it was a Saturday.
Mr. Doe said he was going to try and work something out with his bank to purchase the vehicle on that day. We said we will try to work with him, but our bank closes at 5:00 p.m. and his bank would want the title. He said O.K. Mr. Doe called us again asking if we could drive to Somewhere so he could get the money from his bank. There wouldn’t have been enough time to get back to our bank for a payoff. So we said we would hold it
until Monday. Mr. Doe called back a third time stating Ms.Doe’s bank would arrange with our bank to do the transaction at our bank in Somewhere that afternoon.
We met Mr. Doe and Ms. Doe at our bank in Somewhere, USA. Ms.Doe had a cashiers check for $8000.00, from her bank account, made out to our bank. Because Ms. Doe was purchasing the vehicle, I had her sign the “Bill of Sale” which stated clearly, “Vehicle sold as is”. Once all the paper work for the bank was completed and the bank handed over the title, Mr. Doe said he would need to put his name on the vehicle registration card for transfer of ownership and we would need to submit to the DMV, which we did.
The transaction was completed June 16, 2007, 5:00 P.M., and we then parted and heard nothing from Mr. Doe until October 19, 2007, when we received a letter from a lawyer.