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  1. #1
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    CALIFORNIA

    I purchased a new vehicle using Cash for Clunkers. The vehicle turned out to have serious environment contamination in the hood and front bumper, which was reported within the same week of purchasing. The manufacture has denied warranty, and the dealer has accepted responsibility.

    At present, the dealer has tried to repair and repaint the hood and bumper on four separate occasions, but the problem still remains. The vehicle has been at the dealership for over 33 days in total.

    Now, it comes to light that the entire vehicle has this environmental contamination and must have all of its glass replaced as well as a complete repaint. The work will be extensive. The dealer has agreed to do the repairs at no cost to me. However, I am not confident they will do a proper job, seeing how they've had four attempts at repairing only the bumper and hood, which remain uncorrected.

    The dealership acknowledges that their attempt at repainting the entire vehicle will also be less than perfect. The other problem is that my vehicle will be further devalued due to the repaint, and may suffer other consequential affects, such as squeaks and rattles due to the serious nature of the repairs.

    The dealer has offered to repurchase my vehicle for the trade-in value. That is $5000 less than what I paid.

    If I accept the dealer's offer to repurchase, may I then proceed to small claims court for the additional loss?

    My goal is to avoid civil court by accepting the repurchase, allowing me to sue for the lesser amount in small claims court.

    Thank you for taking time to read my long winded story and I appreciate your help in this matter.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    if you take a deal you take a deal. You cannot go and sue them after that as you accepted the deal.

    Personally, I would contact the zone rep for the manufacturer as I would not accept a fully repainted new car as well as having the glass replaced. Since the dealer is not heading that direction, I would simply try to go over their head and seek a new vehicle.

    what is this "serious environment contamination" that is the problem anyway?

  3. #3
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    Jan 2010
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    Thanks for your response. I don't like it, but it makes sense. I'll make another attempt with the manufacturer, and see what comes of it.

    As for the actually problem, some external contaminate is eating away at the paint and glass. What it is exactly, that's a question. Though it is agreed upon that it is from the dealership. Thanks again!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    you mean to say the dealership somehow caused this problem? If so, my directions would be incorrect as this is no longer a warranty situation and now a property damage issue.

    please explain what you can a bit more.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    I would contact one of the law firms specializing in the lemon law. On the surface, it would appear to me that the law would apply; an attorney can review the details and advise you better than we can. The dealer expecting you to take a $5,000 loss on a defective new vehicle is not your friend. It should not be up to you to sort out whether it is the manufacturer's problem or the dealer's problem. Some of the firms can get you a resolution by letting the dealer or manufacturer know that they are on the case. Their fees should be included in the claim, over and above all of the money you have put into the vehicle.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    . It should not be up to you to sort out whether it is the manufacturer's problem or the dealer's problem.
    the reason they would is if it is a manufact problem, warranty is the path. If it is something the dealer caused, warranty is not going to cover it as it is something other than a manufacturers defect.

    If the dealer did it, the manufacturer doesn't have to do anything for it, including under the lemon laws and the dealer is not subject to the lemon laws because they are not the manufacturer so yes, where the blame lays is important.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    Quote Quoting jk
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    the reason they would is if it is a manufact problem, warranty is the path. If it is something the dealer caused, warranty is not going to cover it as it is something other than a manufacturers defect.

    If the dealer did it, the manufacturer doesn't have to do anything for it, including under the lemon laws and the dealer is not subject to the lemon laws because they are not the manufacturer so yes, where the blame lays is important.
    True. My real point was that a consult with a lemon law attorney could sort of the details based on looking at the actual situation rather than us trying to guess. -- There have been a number of situations here in which environmental damages to imported vehicles were caused on board ships before vehicles were delivered to dealers - not a manufacturing defect, but also not a dealer responsibility. That's why I would talk to an attorney first and then consider other alternatives if his answers are not what I was hoping for.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    I have already spoken with a handful of Lemon Law attorneys. Of the ones who have taken similar cases of Environmental Fallout on new vehicles, all were convinced my situation was a consumer rights/property damage issue, not a Lemon Law case.

    However, one attorney strongly believed that small claims court, after selling back the vehicle was a viable option, considering the dealer's failure to properly repair the vehicle on several occasions, and all of the extensive repairs still needed. He believed that the court would see that I had given the dealership enough attempts to "make it right," and that they had failed. And now, with more extensive repairs required, I can demonstrate the diminished value to the vehicle, and lack of confidence in the dealership to correct the non-conformities.

    Now, my reasoning is, the dealership will not want to risk a judgement. We will most likely be sent to mediation. There, I will settle.

    On a related note, the excuse the dealership is using as for the $5000 loss, is that I took advantage of the Clunker rebate, which, if they unwound, would cause them to loose the $4500 + incidentals. I need to follow-up with the CARS program to verify.

    I am going to follow-up with one more attorney. The manufacture is refusing to take action as they are convinced this is a dealership-consumer issue. The manufacturer has also denied funds to the dealer for earlier repairs to my vehicle. Which is a strange move. Maybe, they are protecting themselves.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    I do not believe you will be allowed to mount a case as you are suggesting via small claims court. Not only do I believe that method in itself may be considered ,ah, shall we say less than a forthright means which would most likely be frowned upon by our courts, I would suggest the rescission of the sale would require a release signed that would prevent you from taking such actions.

    Just a guess but I believe you are barking up the wrong tree currently.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Can I Sue Dealership After Selling Back Vehicle

    I have to agree with jk that you are barking up the wrong tree, signing an agreement and then attempting to abrogate it in a small claims suit. I don't think you would scare a dealership with such a suit, nor would they "not want to risk a judgement." They would have the easiest defense in the world -- "The plaintiff agreed to these terms for the return of the vehicle." And, they would have your signature on the documents to prove it.

    But, of course, it's your choice on what you wish to try.

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