• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Can I take the previous owner of my car to court for failing to disclose

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

jhnsartain3

New member
I live in Polk County, Iowa.

I purchased a vehicle from Craigslist. The buyer claimed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the vehicle except for a few things that were disclosed to me.

The items mentioned were the AC is not functioning and the exhaust has a leak. Other than that I was assured that everything was in perfect working order. I have screenshots of messages between me and the seller going over what needs to be fixed and what doesn't. The major issue the blown head gasket was not mentioned.

The day I purchase the car it didn't even make it home before it turned itself off while on the road. It did the same thing for the next few days but then it stopped for a while. I figured maybe I imagined it all or that maybe I had just done something wrong.

Recently while traveling by interstate to my home the car started smoking from the engine bay again but this time fairly seriously to the point where the vehicle shut off again. Fearing for the safety of myself and passing motorist I dialed 911.

Finally the vehicle is no longer operable as it is unable to maintain running order for more than 10 minutes.

The car has been examined by two mechanics who have both deemed a blown head gasket coupled with poor engine condition such as metal fragments in the oil to be the problem.

The mechanics from independent shops both quoted me at $7,000 for total repair.

I believe the seller was not totally honest and did not fully disclose the problems with the vehicle. I can see by records that the previous owner only owned the car for 3 months before selling it to me. Prior to that the car has been sold more times than I can count. To me that indicates that each buyer discovers the issue with the vehicle and turns around and sells it as quick as possible without disclosing the issues with the vehicle entirely.

Seller denies all responsibility for the vehicle stating he just didn't know. Seeing as he's a car guy who owns many Mustangs, who admitted that the engine was not factory, I do not believe him.

I do not want to make it big headache out of this for everyone but I would like to recover the cost of the vehicle or the repair.
 


adjusterjack

Senior Member
Sorry, used cars are sold AS IS. It was up to you to check it's history with a Carfax or similar service (there's even a free one online) and have it inspected by a mechanic before you bought it.

You can certainly sue for your money back, nobody's stopping you, but I don't think you'll win.
 

quincy

Senior Member
Oh. I am actually assuming the car is too old.

I included the law for others who might stop by and wonder if the Lemon Law applies. The link shows it likely doesn't. :)
 

FlyingRon

Senior Member
CARFAX is pretty much hype. It wouldn't have found either of these problems. It's pretty much limited to mining records it can get (state title records and limited service history from certain sources).
 

pac72

Member
so it shut itself off on day one and you continued to keep on driving it, after repeatedly shutting itself off , then you finish it off with a highway drive ? you should of had it looked at after the first sign of trouble..
sounds like you just blew it up,
way too late to go after seller.. unless seller gave you a guaranty , used car sales between private parties are typically as is
 

quincy

Senior Member
so it shut itself off on day one and you continued to keep on driving it, after repeatedly shutting itself off , then you finish it off with a highway drive ? you should of had it looked at after the first sign of trouble..
sounds like you just blew it up,
way too late to go after seller.. unless seller gave you a guaranty , used car sales between private parties are typically as is
Actually, the car should have been looked at before the first sign of trouble. ;)

A pre-purchase inspection of a used vehicle by a would-be purchaser's trusted mechanic is always recommended, to reduce the likelihood that problems of the sort described here go undetected.

I agree that driving the car after the car exhibited signs of engine trouble was not a great idea and no doubt increased damage to the vehicle.
 
Last edited:
I hope I'm not steering you in the wrong direction but Iowa requires the seller to give the buyer a bill of sale, odometer disclosure statement, damage disclosure statement and sign over the title.
https://www.dmv.org/ia-iowa/buy-sell/state-regulations.php
If he didn't give you those you may have recourse.
The other possibility is that is if he is selling multiple cars you may be able to complain to the DMV that he's an unlicensed dealer.
To be honest whenever the word craigslist is mentioned there's not much chance of getting your money back.
 

mjpayne

Active Member
I live in Polk County, Iowa.

I purchased a vehicle from Craigslist. The buyer claimed that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the vehicle except for a few things that were disclosed to me.

The items mentioned were the AC is not functioning and the exhaust has a leak. Other than that I was assured that everything was in perfect working order. I have screenshots of messages between me and the seller going over what needs to be fixed and what doesn't. The major issue the blown head gasket was not mentioned.

The day I purchase the car it didn't even make it home before it turned itself off while on the road. It did the same thing for the next few days but then it stopped for a while. I figured maybe I imagined it all or that maybe I had just done something wrong.

Recently while traveling by interstate to my home the car started smoking from the engine bay again but this time fairly seriously to the point where the vehicle shut off again. Fearing for the safety of myself and passing motorist I dialed 911.

Finally the vehicle is no longer operable as it is unable to maintain running order for more than 10 minutes.

The car has been examined by two mechanics who have both deemed a blown head gasket coupled with poor engine condition such as metal fragments in the oil to be the problem.

The mechanics from independent shops both quoted me at $7,000 for total repair.

I believe the seller was not totally honest and did not fully disclose the problems with the vehicle. I can see by records that the previous owner only owned the car for 3 months before selling it to me. Prior to that the car has been sold more times than I can count. To me that indicates that each buyer discovers the issue with the vehicle and turns around and sells it as quick as possible without disclosing the issues with the vehicle entirely.

Seller denies all responsibility for the vehicle stating he just didn't know. Seeing as he's a car guy who owns many Mustangs, who admitted that the engine was not factory, I do not believe him.

I do not want to make it big headache out of this for everyone but I would like to recover the cost of the vehicle or the repair.
Did he sell it AS IS? If so, you're screwed. Check your documents.

BTW what car was it and how much did it cost?
 

quincy

Senior Member
Did he sell it AS IS? If so, you're screwed. Check your documents.

BTW what car was it and how much did it cost?
If the vehicle is one that was recalled by the manufacturer for manufacturer defects, repairs to the defective part should be covered by the manufacturer.

It can be worth exploring.
 

mjpayne

Active Member
If the vehicle is one that was recalled by the manufacturer for manufacturer defects, repairs to the defective part should be covered by the manufacturer.

It can be worth exploring.
Yes, definitely. These will sometimes be performed at NO CHARGE and the repairs performed can be quite significant. It's possible this model has some sort of common engine problem. Repairs are even performed for non-original owners.

https://vinrcl.safercar.gov/vin/
 

quincy

Senior Member
Yup. It is always possible there is a problem with the vehicle that was purchased that can be traced to a recalled part not yet repaired/replaced.

If a vehicle has had several owners in quick succession, the manufacturer notice of recall might not have caught up to the current owner. These recall notices that are mailed do not stop getting mailed out to the vehicle owner until the recall has been handled.
 

Sponsored Ad

Top