Can i file a lawsuit on a used car sold "as is"

I bought a used 2003 ford focus, for $1,500 at a dealership. while i was there i asked many question about the car, if it work great and if it had any issue. the guy who was selling the car, said there was nothing wrong with the car, i asked after if it would pass inspection, he said the car should pass inspection with problem. I told the dealer i need a safe car, because i have a newborn. Now the thing is i’m a first time buyer. I don’t know nothing about car, so i trust the dealer. I did took the car out for a test drive and it drove just fine for what i thought. He was suppose to drop it off the next day, which he fail to do. before i go any farther the car was dirty and didn’t have the window wiper in the back. he told me he has professional cleaners that would leave the car like new and he will put in the window wipers with no issue. Now he was suppose to drop off the car Friday at 12:00pm. which he fail to, again he called saying he gonna do more cleaning to the car and double check it with his mechanic that he will drop it off Saturday at 12:00pm. the next day he dropped of the car at 8:00pm at night after i made many calls ans text and ignored them. after i had my boyfriend and his cousin check out the car and the car had many issue… it has no horn, no e-brake… it wont even pass inspection and it has rust on both side of the car which was spray painted on top of it. it was not even cleaned right. The thing is i called him back and he said the contract say “sold as is no warranty”. I want to file a lawsuit and i need advice on this matter.

P.S sorry for my awful English grammar.

You are talking to the wrong people. Talk to your DMV to see if it can be sold by a dealer if it can’t pass inspection and what the disclosure requirements are if they can sell it without inspection to you. Then talk to a lawyer if you have a case.

What state are you in? The laws of the state you live in determine what, if any recourse you have. We need this info to give you an accurate answer.

I don't know nothing about car, so i trust the dealer.

Why would you do THAT? The man’s in business to sell you that car for as much money as possible; it’s to be expected that he will exaggerate, or outright lie, regarding the car’s condition.

The thing is i called him back and he said the contract say "sold as is no warranty".

Do you have the paperwork you signed? What does it say regarding warranty? Anything that was promised to you orally is unprovable in court and may as well not even happened. That “promise it would pass inspection” is, I’m guessing, an oral promise.

after i had my boyfriend and his cousin check out the car and the car had many issue...... it has no horn, no e-brake... it wont even pass inspection and it has rust on both side of the car which was spray pained on top of it.

Really, this is stuff that you ought to have noticed on a test drive, even as a newbie car buyer. “Looking for painted-over rust” is probably the FIRST thing you do with ANY used car: if it’s rusty in all the wrong places, don’t even bother with the test drive, because you don’t want it…

Alright, Thank you for the advice. I will be going to the DMV, to find out more information.

I’m from Massachusetts, but i bought the car in Salem New Hampshire. I understand it was foolish of me. Trust me i’m learning my lesson now. Since he told me it would pass inspection and he was gonna double check it with his mechanic. I trusted him. Now i want to see if i could file a lawsuit.

In Mississippi all you are guaranteed with an AS IS sale is a clear title to whatever pieces are attached to the VIN plate. It’s a shame that the public isn’t aware of how vulnerable they are in buying a used car here and in other states as well.

The first thing ANY car buyer needs to do is have ANY car inspected by a third party mechanic. If the seller refuses to allow an inspection RUN away.

I don’t know where you are, but in my state it is illegal for a dealer to sell a car without SOME KIND of warranty. Many are only 10% of internally lubricated parts, which is pretty useless. The dealer is supposed to hang buyer’s guide in EVERY car detailing what the warranty is. As I understand it, that is a FEDERAL requirement. Others here may verify it. Without that guide, he may have broken a federal law.

As for your car, it is unfortunate that you apparently found a real sleazeball of a dealer. Can you sue? Probably not if you agreed to an “as is” sale. Did you SIGN anything that said “as is”? You might be able to make his life miserable by reporting him to the state’s dealership licensing bureau for misrepresentation. He misrepresented the car in many ways. If your state has annual safety inspections, it would not pass without a horn or parking brake.

If you hire a lawyer you will probably spend more than you paid for the car. Your sleazeball dealer knows that. You might be able to use a small claims court, or embarrass him publicly by having a TV station go to bat for you against him. Do you have such TV services in your area? That’s doubtful if he advertises on that station.

Good luck.

The thing is he didn’t say the contract was “as is” I was reading through the paper work and i didn’t see any “as is” until he told me that on the phone. After i checked the copy i got and i saw that in one of the paper it said “Sold as is no warranty”. I will be doing a lawsuit and i will be reporting him.

Thank you all for your advice. I know i made a mistake by believing the dealer. I thought people would be more honest in this world.

If you had bought the car from an individual, I think you would have no recourse. Since you bought the car from a dealer some states have a think about it time, where you can return the car no questions asked within a time frame of 1 to 3 days. Not knowing your state, your first attempt at resoulution needs to be through the dealer. Go right to the manager or preferably the owner, be calm, tell him the story and say I need a car that can pass inspection. I have friends that need a car, and I will tell them all how you treated me right. You were given untrue information by the salesman, but unfortunately the only thing that matters is what is put in writing. Being sold as is you have no legal recourse unless your state has the think about it time. I would not automatically assume the dealer painted the rust, it might have been done by the owner to make it look good for trade in.

Deal with the dealer is your best option I see. Why did it fail inspection?

I will be doing a lawsuit and i will be reporting him.

Good luck in your efforts. If it were me, I’d shop it around to lawyers willing to work on contingency–not that I’d necessarily use one; but an initial consultation would tell you much about the strength (or, I’m afraid, the weakness) of your case. If they don’t want it, it’s likely not very winnable.

The problem you have, as I see it, is that the used car dealer makes his daily living off of people just like you…and therefore knows just where the “line” is, and just how close to it he can tiptoe without going over. I’m sure the legalese in the papers you signed were worded “just so” to preserve his rights; I’m sure he was very careful not to have any record of any promises made as to the condition of the car (“plausible deniability” and all that jazz).

The only thing you have working for you, is whatever consumer protections that exist for car buyers in NH–because on the basis of the contract you signed, you’re out of luck. (And this gives him an out on “would it pass inspection”: “Well, gee, I’m not an expert on Mass inspections; I’m a NH businessman, after all!”)

One thing you might want to try, is to go to his nearest competitor, and tell him your tale of woe, and what a bad businessman the guy is–his competitor (might) care to treat you better in repair, as a quick way to net a new customer. Can’t hurt!

Try the Consumer Protection office of the Atty General’s office.
You may have a case for fraud. Fraud is incredibly hard to prove, but if they gave you the car in the condition you described AND put an inspection sticker on it, you’ve “got” them.

Be sure you send a copy of the formal complaint to the AG’s office to the dealer. My guess is they’ll bend over backwards to convince you to return the car and to refund your money in full. No dealer operating dishonestly wants the AG investigating their business. They have professional investigators, access to all the dealer’s records, sopena power, and can file criminal charges if warranted.

Good luck.

I’m assuming the car was sold without an inspection sticker, because the sleazeball salesman said he’d check with the mechanic if it would pass. Nowhere in this story was it mentioned that the car was delivered with any kind of inspection sticker or paperwork.

Regardless of what state you bought the used car in, wouldn’t it have to pass in the state you’re registering in . . . ?

I’m asking because I’m in California, and our state SHAMELESSLY does not have safety inspections. I put that in bold letters because many of the cars on the road here are decidedly unsafe

The fact that this car was sold “as is” makes me think OP doesn’t have much of a legal case.

I will say this . . . and it’s a little off topic. In my state a car dealer of any kind has to get the car smogged as part of the sale.

In states with a mandatory safety inspection, do dealers have to sell the car with a new safety inspection sticker?

Often a letter from a lawyer is all it takes to get the offender to give you what you want. I had a friend with a Jaguar XJS, and it would stall intermittently. Jaguar was not going to help him, but a letter from an attorney friend caused them to take the car back and give him another. I don’t know that you will be treated the same way or even want to trade cars with the crook, but sometimes simple steps are all it takes to make a creep roll over.

Thank you all. I will be taking all yours advice. Since i will be filing a lawsuit i will need as much information as i can get. I was looking at the car earlier and in the bottom of the car all wire are hanging down, it can’t even be driven in the high way.

I will be contacting my lawyer on this case. I don’t know much about the laws in New Hampshire, but i been doing my search and asking people. I know in Mass, the laws are different, but i will be fighting this awful deal.

Some Of The Regulars Here On This Site Have Given You Some Good Free Advice. Please Come Back Here And Keep Them Updated. The Information You Provide Could Help Them To Help Others In Similar Situations. Good Luck!


If you don’t get a lawyer involved, I would have a friend help you write your own letter asking for a refund and explaining that you did not understand the transaction. Don’t make threats or negative personal statements. Keep it short - one page maximum - and keep a copy.

If there is no positive response, I like the idea of taking this problem to the media. Also, there are many places (Yelp, for example) on the internet that you can tell your story about this dealer. Again, nothing personal, just tell what happened and let others decide that the dealer is a jerk. Of course, I wouldn’t do that without giving the dealer one more chance to resolve the situation - as in take the car back.

Some people might blame you for not checking the car out more thoroughly or not reading your contract, but those who see the big picture would realize that the dealer took an unfair advantage of your lack of knowledge about buying used cars.

If you know someone who has more experience than you, ask him or her to accompany you if you ever decide to go to the dealer in person. Don’t argue with the dealer. It won’t help. If you approach this right, the dealer might come to realize that it may not be worth fighting over this $1500.00 purchase and he really has much more to lose than to gain if this becomes public.

Good luck.

Another $1500 lesson in life. Take your hit and move on. Trying to take an out of state car dealer to court over an as is sale will be a waste of time and costly in my opinion.

Most people who sue or even call a lawyer don’t have any luck. “As is” means that the car is “almost junk” and only needs a death certificate to confirm it or about $5,000 in repairs; if not now, soon. As a dealer, I’m saying things like this behind your back, “If I can’t trust this car, Why should you trust it?” In court, my answer will always be that I said nothing about the condition of the car. I would never put an inspection sticker on that kind of car.

Note: I have never been a car dealer.

I have sold a few used cars, and always use the as is disclaimer on the bill of sale. I sell them with the knowledge that the cars are in fine shape but want to avoid the hassle if something pukes a week later.