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  1. #1

    Default Small Dealer is Not Living Up to Used Car Sales Contract

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

    About 2 weeks ago, I purchased a used car from a small dealer. At the time of the sale, the dealer knew there were a few things wrong with the car and stated that if I purchased it, he would write into the contract that he was responsible for fixing those things. The items we wrote into the contract were: A/C not working, 1 year warranty on the newly installed engine, thumping coming from the rear of the car (bad shocks), a squealing in the engine when revved and the alignment done. There was also a check engine light throwing a P0420 code which was most likely a catalytic converter. I bought the car on a Sunday and I was going out of town for a few days, so I agreed to bring it back to him the following Thursday so he could make the repairs. When I brought it on Thursday, he reset the check engine light and said if it came on again he would replace the catalytic converter. He then said he needed to get some parts and could I bring it back Friday, so I did. Friday came and he got the alignment done and charged the A/C system with Freon, but he needed parts for the shocks. The check engine light was also back on, so I asked that he change out the catalytic converter. He reset the check engine light again, then he asked if I would bring it back Monday and leave it with him. I did this and when I called to see how it was going, he said he would need it another day. That turned into 2 days and I got a text from him today saying it was done and I could pick it up. When I got there he wasn't there, but had left the keys with his associate. I had taken an Uber to his shop, which is about 40 minutes away, so I needed it to get home. As I was driving home, the theump was back, the engine squeal was still there, the A/C was not working at all and about 2 miles from home, the check engine light came back one. I have made three 50 mile round trips to his shop and left the car with him for 3 days, and all I have to show for it is proper alignment.

    My question is, what are my options now? How many chances do I need to give him to fix the car? What steps can I take to make sure the repairs are done correctly? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you all for your time.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,661

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    It's a good thing you got all that stuff in writing.

    At this point I suggest a letter to him demanding that he fix everything on the list once and for all or you will take the vehicle elsewhere, have it fixed, then sue him for the cost of repairs.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    Thank you adjusterjack. I was thinking the same thing. What, in your opinion, is a reasonable amount of time to give him to make the repairs? Should I send him a certified letter at the end of the week? This coming Sunday will be 2 weeks since the car was purchased.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    Update: After telling me he had ordered a new catalytic converter and flaking twice on coming to get the car, he has officially ghosted me. Has not responded to text messages or answered phone calls since Tuesday, April 16th. I got an estimate from the local Subaru dealership to do the work and it's $1750. I can't afford to lay that out right now, so I am in the process of typing out my demand letter to him. Do I have to have the repairs made before I can take him to small claims or can I do it based on the estimate to fix the car? Thanks for any input.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    16,661

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    Quote Quoting FaultySubaru
    View Post
    Do I have to have the repairs made before I can take him to small claims or can I do it based on the estimate to fix the car?
    You can send the demand and file suit based on the estimate.

    Though I suggest you attach a completed, but not filed, small claims complaint form (to show that you know what you are doing), give him a deadline date to pay (might as well make it 7 days since he isn't likely to pay you anyway), and file suit immediately after the deadline passes.

    Make sure you look up his dealership at the state's business records office to get the correct name of the business and the owner. You want to make sure you name the owner as an individual as well as the business.

    Also check the car dealer's licensing office for his license and bond information. If you get a judgment against him you can submit the judgment to the licensing office and the bonding company if you have trouble collecting from him.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    Thank you so much for this information. I truly appreciate it. I'm going to follow those instructions to a T.

    Update #2

    I checked his license status with the California Bureau of Auto Repair and his license is delinquent since November of 2018. Will this have any bearing on the case, should it go to court? Thanks!

    One more question. I looked up the dealers license info on the DMV website, but there is no bod information. How would I go about finding that info? Thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    98,817

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    You'll recover over warranty / deficient repair claims based upon the merits of those claims, not the present status of the dealer's license.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Small Dealer Not Living Up to Sales Contract

    Thank you!

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