Did the auto dealer defraud me by not letting me know the car was in a wreck? How? 6 Answers as of September 10, 2015

I purchased a used 2013 Nissan. Agreed upon price was 20272, including tax tags title, everything. Well I used a pre-approved loan check for 19000 to pay for the truck and was going to put down the remainder ($1,272) on a credit card. When we went to the processing area I had my card in hand and thought she took it to swipe but she never did. The dealer took my approved loan check for 19k and did my paperwork saying that everything is paid and the agreement is a 0 balance. Now is it possible they can come back to try and take my $1272? Isn't it their mistake they did not charge the card? As I said all paperwork said that this is paid in full, which both parties signed. I asked the dealer if the truck had ever been in a wreck because the back bumper looked off, so I asked for a Carfax to make sure it had never been in an accident. The dealer told me that the title is clean and the vehicle had never been in an accident, then the car check came back clean. After I get home I am checking through the glove box in the owner’s manual and come across a receipt for bodywork due to a wreck in 2013! I specifically asked the dealer if it had been in a wreck and he and the manager said no, plus the car check came back clean as well. So did the dealer for not letting me know the car was in a wreck defraud me? And am I at fault for the dealer not doing his paperwork correctly? Should I just let bygones be bygones because of my break? Any help in this matter would greatly be appreciated.

Ask a Local Attorney. 100% Anonymous. Free Answers.

Free Case Evaluation by a Local Lawyer: Click here
Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
First, if the full price was not actually received by the buyer, then you still owe that sum. Secondly, you don't say what the receipt indicates by way of cost or work performed. Yes, you may have a claim for fraud if you want to get out of the deal. You might use the fact that there was property damage that was unreported to you as a negotiating tool to lower the amount you still owe. I don't believe it was a serious accident as it should have appeared on Carfax. If it was, then you probably do want to rescind the contract. But that also might be a lesson learned on what to believe from Carfax and other types of services. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
Replied: 9/10/2015
Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
You can not profit from the mistake by the dealer in not processing your credit card. Obviously it was not their intent not to charge you. It was a unilateral mistake. If you had made a mistake in addition and over paid them, would you accept their saying 'tough luck" and keeping the over payment? The law does not protect people with dirty hands; if they sue you, they will win and get their filing fees, you will have a judgment against you, and your credit rating will be effected. As to their not telling you about the prior damage, it does not appear that was willing on their part, so was not fraudulent, as they negligently failed to look in the glove box. You do not say how bad the prior damage was; contact the body shop to find out. If it was minor damage that would not likely have caused any frame or other permanent damage, you might get them to reduce the sale's price a little; if the damage was significant, then you could argue it was a mutual mistake of fact that might void the sale.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 9/9/2015
Richard B. Jacobson & Associates, LLC | Richard B. Jacobson
Several thoughts: first, although the dealer made a mistake in the paperwork, you did agree to pay the $20,000+, and I think you'll agree that it is unfair to the dealer to exploit a technical mistake to pay him $1,200 less than you agreed to pay him. I think he wins that round. As to the 'wreck; it's hard to define what is a and what is not. It could be that the bodywork could appear to a reasonable person not to be the result of a 'wreck,' but simply of a bump, or a ding, or a fender-bender. So whether the dealer violated the law by not disclosing a 'latent' defect depends on what the bodywork was repairing that is, how serious was the damage to the car.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 9/8/2015
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C.
James E. Hasser, Jr. P.C. | Jim Hasser
To prove fraud, you will have to prove that the dealer knew or should have known the car had been wrecked. Unless the dealer had actual knowledge of the wreck or had seen the receipt, you might have an uphill battle. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 9/8/2015
Law Offices of Ronald A. Steinberg & Associates | Ronald A. Steinberg, BA, MA, JD
If you took delivery and had problems very soon thereafter, you might have a claim. Didn't you check Car Facts? Supposedly they have records of all accidents associated with the VIN (vehicle identification number). Usually, buying a used car is considered "as is" unless there is a specific warranty. But, before you lay down and die, it might be worth talking to a lemon law expert to see if there is a consumer protection act claim you could file. Good luck. Spread the word about the dealer; sounds like a despicable place to shop.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/8/2015
    Gates' Law, PLLC | Thomas E. Gates
    It appears that the dealer took all of the normal and necessary steps to check to see if the truck was in an accident. The best you can hope for is a reduction on the sale price.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/8/2015
Click to View More Answers: