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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    2

    Default Dealer Misrepresentation of Installed Safety Equipment of Used Vehicle

    My question involves a consumer law issue in the State of: Wisconsin

    Less then 30 days ago I purchased a used vehicle at a large and reputable dealer.

    Before seeing the vehicle, I emailed the sales person and asked if the vehicle had an ABS system. I received a reply, stating the vehicle did have ABS. A day later I came out and looked at the vehicle in person. I looked at he Wisconsin Used Vehicle Buying Guide in the window, the entry ABS System had a check marked status of "No Problems Found" (available options to check mark were "Problems Found" and "Not Equipped").

    Other similar vehicles I looked at did not have ABS, which I've seen reflected on other Buying Guides as Not Equipped.

    After verbal confirmation the vehicle had ABS, after haggling I purchased it. Realized today though there's no ABS light when the vehicle is starting, I opened the hood, and there is no ABS pump-- it doesn't have ABS.

    Had I known this I wouldn't have bought it. It concerns my wife the most, I even told the sales person ABS was a deal breaker.

    I have not contacted anyone because I'd like to know what my options are. In the perfect world I'd have them take the car back, but I'm sure it's not that easy. However I'm quite upset, either willfully or not willfully the vehicle was misrepresented and I purchased it based off the information.

    Regards,

    D

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Dealer Misrepresentation of Installed Safety Equipment of Used Vehicle

    Read this. You can also look at the state's principal consumer protection law, Wis. Stat. Sec. 100.18.

    If you want them to take the car back, you're going to need to start by asking them to take the car back. For a mistake or misrepresentation of this type, I think it's more likely that a court would award damages as opposed to rescission (undoing the contract), but if you want to try to bring a lawsuit for rescission (keeping in mind that it is unlikely to be resolved quickly) you can attempt to obtain that remedy.

    Odds are the salesperson didn't know much of anything about the car that wasn't on the window sticker. That's not an excuse for the error, of course.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
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    2

    Default Re: Dealer Misrepresentation of Installed Safety Equipment of Used Vehicle

    I can only imagine the headache of returning the car if the dealer somehow agreed to do so. What's reasonable for me to ask for otherwise? Damages in the amount of the car's cost, the cost of it vs. a vehicle equipped with ABS, the cost of installing ABS (if that's possible), damages for the frustration of now having a vehicle I wouldn't have purchased?

    I don't know whats realistic to expect or ask the dealer for when I call tomorrow-- unless I should call a lawyer?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    17,497

    Default Re: Dealer Misrepresentation of Installed Safety Equipment of Used Vehicle

    You're right.

    It's going to be a headache.

    And you might end up stuck with the car anyway.

    Read your purchase contract.

    Does it say you bought the car AS IS?

    Does it say that things said outside the contract are not warranties or representations and don't count?

    Does it say anything admonishing the consumer to carefully check out the car and its features before buying?

    Because if it says all that and you signed the contract you might be stuck with the car.

    Especially since there are plenty of ways online to check out the features and equipment on pretty much any used car and you could have found out before buying if the car really did have ABS or not.

    All of the above is the downside of your situation.

    Whether you have any upside, you'll have to determine on your own.

    One thing I can tell you is that you don't get money for inconvenience or frustration.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Dealer Misrepresentation of Installed Safety Equipment of Used Vehicle

    As the links provided above indicate, Wisconsin has some pretty strong consumer protection laws, and the information that is included on the Wisconsin Buyers Guide window sticker is supposed to be accurate. Hiding something in a contract to the effect of, "If we misrepresent the condition of the vehicle on the window sticker, too bad, so sad for you," isn't going to work. But if you mean that there could be language in the sales agreement describing remedies for errors or omissions, that's possible.

    In terms of the absence of ABS, given that we appear to be talking about a model that does not have ABS as an option it's not going to be possible to compare values of the vehicle with or without ABS, nor is it seem realistic to talk about retrofitting a car for which ABS was never an option with an ABS system. It may be possible to look at other, similar vehicles from the same model year that offered ABS and non-ABS models, and to try to determine the value of ABS based upon the price differential between those models - I would not expect the figure to be particularly high. Ultimately, I would start by trying to work something out with the dealer, particularly if the goal is to get a different vehicle with ABS, because this seems like a case that, if litigated, is likely to result in a modest award of money damages based upon the aforementioned price differential.

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