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Did the used car dealer hide the transmission problem?


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3/15/2013
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Question: The transmission of the used car I bought went out after only a few days, should I sue?
Question Detail: I bought a truck from a mechanic I only signed the titled but not a contract. I test drove the truck only on the lot because the salesman told me we couldn't drive it out on the road because it didn’t have a plate. The day after I bought it the truck died, I drove it back to the mechanic and he told me that it going to be hard to make it work because the transmission was pretty much dead, he will fix it for me but it would cost me. He promise me when I bought that it work perfectly and that he has change everything on it.

Answer: This might be a tough case, because of what is normally referred to as caveat emptor, let the buyer beware. You don’t have a contract so you won’t have a written warranty and that usually means let the buyer beware because the warranty is on you. You’re best bet is to prove the seller did something to disguise that a problem existed. Don't let the company that sold you the truck touch the transmission. They will drain the casing of whatever they put in it to make you think the transmission was fine. Instead take it to a dealer and have it examined to identify what type of fluid is in the transmission. If you take it into the seller’s garage they will drain the fluid and replace it with normal transmission fluid. Then get a written report from the dealer as to what was in the transmission casing and whether that would hide that a problem existed. If there is evidence of fraud, report this shop that sold you the car to the attorney general's consumer protection division and the agency that issues used car dealer licenses. Then sue them.

As a lawyer it always helps to understand a little bit about working on cars. If you don't have someone you can call upon that does.

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