Used car nightmare - Any recourse??

patrice607September 13, 2006

My teen-age son recently bought an '87 Dodge Shelby Daytona for $1900.00. He was looking for a project car that he could drivd back and forth to school. The car started leaking gas on the way home. He called the seller and asked to rescind the sale. No luck. The mechanic fixed the fuel line leak but told us that the bottom of the car was so rusted that he had to put it on the drive up or the lift would go right thru the car. There is a hole the size of a baskcetball in the floor boards. On top of that, the guy sold it on open title - he didn't sign it. I called the local police and they are aware of this guy and say he always has a car for sale in his drive and probably sells them open title so he doesn't have to buy a dealers license or pay tax. We sent written notice that we wanted to rescind the sale. We had a lawyer call and ask for a recision based on the unsafe condition of the car, the open title and the fact that the odometer wasn't working and he didn't tell us. We are complaining to the secretary of state, the attorney general's office and thinking of pursuing this in small claims court.

Would appreciate any advice!

I know, Buyer Beware! This was my son's first attempt to do a deal on his own and now I know he has more enthusiasm that knowledge. Lesson learned....

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johndeere

Thats to bad.But he learned a $1900.00 lesson.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 12:05AM
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steve_o

Good luck with that. If the police are "well aware of" this guy, he's been pulling this stunt for some time and, apparently, no one before you has come up with enough evidence to shut him down. I think johndeere has it right: this was a very valuable -- but expensive -- lesson for your son. Sorry about that....

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 8:34AM
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quirkyquercus

Is your "teen"age 18 or 19 or younger? If a minor maybe not able to legally buy a car anyway.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 10:41AM
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sdello

"He was looking for a project car that he could drive back and forth to school."

There is no such thing as a "project car/daily driver".

You've done all the right things but I doubt you'll ever get anything back. With private used car sales it's really caveat emptor.

Reminds me a youth ~18 yo who bought a '67 GTO convertible in '79 for $900 and sold it for $200 ~ a month later (after replacing the transmission) because the frame was rotted so bad.

Yes, that would be me. I need it, wanted it, had to have it. FWIW: I wish I had that goat now (rotted frame and all).

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 12:03PM
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azzalea

The only place you didn't seem to mention was your state's office of consumer protection.

If that gets you no results, then I think you and your son have to consider the money 'tuition' in the college of life, unfortunately.

Did he have a mechanic look the car over before he committed to buying it? If not, might be a good time to suggest that it's always a good idea when buying a used car.

Shame he got taken on this one, but it's a lesson he's going to remember for always, I bet.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 2:22PM
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jasper_60103

ok, i can't hold it back.

I bet you wanna kick the crap out this guy?!!

Its terrible that folks can get away with stuff like this.

-jasper

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 2:40PM
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patrice607

Thanks for the input. Answers for your questions -
My son is 19. There was nothing legal about the sale since it's illegal to sell with an open (unsigned) title. Also, he didn't disclose the hazardous conditions or the fact that the odometer wasn't working. Office of consumer protection does not deal with used cars.

The hardest part was seeing how disheartened my son felt after paying out most of his summer wages. The guy who sold it paid $850.00 to the original owner a month before he sold it to my son. Strangely, he didn't think he had done anything wrong. Nice profit on someone else's misfortune.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 9:40PM
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johndeere

Maybe the seller was unaware of the rusted out floor board just like your son?Maybe he did not look under the car just like your son did not take a look.

Highly doughtful but possible.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:59AM
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patrice607

johndeere -

Even if the seller didn't realize the problem, do you think it's right for him to make $1150. profit in one month? I think this is one of those defining moments when a person has to decide if they will do what's right or see what they can get away with. Even if he wouldn't take the car back, I think he should have given back some of the money. He misrepresented the car. He advertised it on craigslist as being in great shape. (FTC violation) He sold it open title. (tax evasion, dealer license evasion) Told us all the guages worked (odometer was broken)

I'd like to believe that he didn't know, but he's got a pretty lousy track record. He's also quite a story teller. He told us that he bought the car from a "sweet old guy" who practically cried when he turned over the keys. Imagine my surprise when I talked to him - this old guy was 41! (that makes me ancient)

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 8:59PM
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gary__

**Even if the seller didn't realize the problem, do you think it's right for him to make $1150. profit in one month?**

Nothing wrong with making a profit of any amount. I don't care if he made it in 5 minutes. What any car salesman says private seller or otherwise, has to be taken with a butt load of salt. Unless otherwise stated, these sales are 'as is' no warranty. That means it's totally up to the buyer to determine the conditon and value before laying down the money. Car salesman don't have to disclose anything they don't know about. Therefore, they know nothing about any problems (whether they do or not), and don't want to know anything about it.

The only way I know of you could have it undone is over this title issue you spoke of. Even at that, if all that's required is a signature, and the seller can get that too you, then I wouldn't even call that enough to undo the deal imo.

The floor pan shouldn't be that big of a deal if you're not trying to make a show car out of it. Remove the seats, remove the carpet, cut out the rusted metal. Cut out a piece of sheet metal to fit the hole, maybe even get a junk yard to cut out a good floor pan out of a junker for an exact fit. Weld, bolt, pop rivet...whatever you want, into place. Put the carpet and seats back in. Done. Not that hard usually.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 8:24AM
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johndeere

I recently sold my sons Metro that he gave $700.00 for.He drove it 2 years and put $200.00 in repairs into it during that time.It sold for $1200.00 and the asking price was $1500.00.My son had it 2 years and made a profit.Does that mean he is a crook for letting his dad sell his car for him and make a profit after using it 2 years and racking up 30'000 miles?

The car needed a new exaust and leaked oil bad.The tires were bald and the AC did not work and it had one burnt out head light bulb.I let the buyer take it out for a test drive on a hot summer day.

If he did not see it did not have a working AC and it was load bad exaust.If he did not see the burnt out day time driving light was out while standing in front of it while running and the daytime running lights on.With the hood up with the smell of burning oil from the oily engine and a puddle on the pavement.If he did not see the tires were smooth very little tread.

Then why should I point these things out to him?The vehical was available for his inspection and he was given a price.He then said what he was willing to offer.I did not tell him my son gave $700.00 2 years before and would make a $500.00 profit minus the $200.00 in repairs.

He also did not take a look under the car.If he had he would have seen a very oil soaked under carriage and a bad exaust and might have had a better look at the slick tires.

Does that mean I took the guy to the cleaners?If he did not ask or look why should I have pointed these things out to him?That why you take a test drive and kick the tires and take a good close look.Before handing over the money.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2006 at 11:22PM
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patrice607

Gary -

My son took the car into a body shop and was quoted $3,000.00 to fix it. If you don't know how to do it yourself, is there another way to get it done inexpensively? Do the trade schools work on these cars at a reduced rate? I'm still trying to salvage this. It's a nice looking car and my son loves Daytonas.

johndeere -

I think there is a big difference between your situation and what happened to my son. From what you posted, the buyer didn't ask and you didn't offer any information. I guess I draw the line on failure to disclose when it involves a hazardous situation. This car had almost no gas in it when my son drove it. When he filled it up for the drive home, fuel poured out of it. If someone had thrown a cigarette out the window, he would have blown up.

Furthermore, the Daytona was advertised on Craigslist as "excellent mechanical condition"
When the internet is involved, false advertising is illegal under the Lanham act. The mileage was posted on the internet ad and on the bill of sale. He said all the guages were working. Also , the sale with an open title was done to avoid taxes and obtaining a dealer license. This is not a private party trying to unload one car. This is an unlicensed dealer who buys cars and resells them as "excellent" when he either hasn't taken the time to determine what condition they are in or is purposefully deceitful.

I appreciate your input. I was hoping for this kind of challenge so I can have a preview of what kind of discussion might come up in small claims court. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:10AM
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bob_k

If you are interested in getting your money back sue him. And when it goes to court and you win then the sale was illegal. And if you don't win it was a legal sale. According to the interpretation of the law by a judge. You can talk about it all you want here but nothing is going done by talking on the internet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 12:52AM
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gary__

**My son took the car into a body shop and was quoted $3,000.00 to fix it. If you don't know how to do it yourself, is there another way to get it done inexpensively? Do the trade schools work on these cars at a reduced rate? I'm still trying to salvage this. It's a nice looking car and my son loves Daytonas.**

Yes, a trade school can fix it for the cost of parts if there's one around, and you don't mind being without the car for an indefinite period of time.

As to the fix, I already told you how assuming the area that's rusted through isn't structurely significant. Remove the seat and carpeting. Cut out the rusted area using a torch, air chisel, or cut-off grinder. Don't have any of that stuff? Spend $20 for a cheep electric sabre saw or sawzall from Harbor Freight. Cut a piece of metal to cover the hole overlapping the edges 1/2" or a little more. Fasten it in place by whatever means you have. I suggested having a junk yard cut out a chunk of floor pan out of a similar car so the shape and thickness of the metal would even be correct. Just need to trim it to fit then. That would be no harder to do than patching a hole in a sheet rock wall. Since it's not where you can see, cosmetics aren't important. If that $3000 is to fabricate a floor pan, do it the way I said and save the $3000. If the $3000 is because the frame is rusted through and needs to be repaired, then your out of luck.

Hope the guy just gives you the money back.

I'd bet money you'd prevail in small claims court if you go that route. I'd also bet money the crook won't even bother to show up so you don't have to do a lot of thinking about all the legal angles. I'd also bet he doesn't give you back a dime even after you win the case. He probably doesn't have a pot to 'P' in or a window to throw it out of. That's something to ask a lawyer on your free consult, what happens if you win and he still doesn't pay? I'm not sure there's any government enforcement of a small claims judgement. Don't know, just something to check into. A case for Judge Judy perhaps?

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 1:15AM
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quirkyquercus

Fred Flintstone had a car without a floor and he seemed to do alright by paddling the ground with his feet. Your son wanted a project car. Now he's got a project. Have him go down the courthouse and file a suit in small claims court. In the mean time, don't do anything "permanent" to the car.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:12AM
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sdello

unfortuntaely, today $1100 is not a lot of money. This is further proven by a $3000 estimate to patch up the floor.

Watch how fast a lawyer will rack up a $1100 in fees helping you out with the court system. How come our capitalistic society reveres anyone who can buy something for x dollars and roll it over for 2x dollars in a month, but this guy is a crook?

I agree that you should have a nominal time (say min. 7days, maximum 30 days) to return for a full refund, but it doesn't necessarily hold true. Bottom line is that he should've taken it to a mechanic before he paid the cash.

good luck.

P.S. as I suggested on the other post. search on aome "daytona" sites and see if the parts are worth anything

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 2:58PM
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downsouth

You should be able to get some of your money back in small claims court. We had to do this once for our son and we got all of our money back. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:00PM
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patrice607

Downsouth -

Thanks for the encouraging words! Did you buy from a private party or a dealership? What were the charges? Did you return the car? Our lawyer is telling us it's OK to sell the car. We're basing our case on fraud.

I'd really appreciate more info. Pls respond on this board or email me thru the link on my page.

Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 11:33PM
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gary__

**Our lawyer is telling us it's OK to sell the car. We're basing our case on fraud.**

I'd make sure about that somehow if I were you. Sounds questionable to me that you'd get to sell the vehicle, expect him to make up the difference for your loss, and he doesn't get the vehicle back in return.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 12:23AM
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bob7255khz

Did u call ur STATE POLICE....NOT ur local police? Reason I'm asking, it had to be state inspected and pass all the safety requirments of ur given state. This also applies to the frame etc.....the car had to be safe to pass the inspection.....if it wasn't , then the inspection station would have to answer some questions from the State Police as why this car passed the inspection.
If the car was inspected recently....then this is more than " caveiot emptor.....I mean , geee , it was inspected to ur states specs.....and u thought the car was safe....the state saying so. The fine for inspecting a car that was not able too pass.....stiff fines / revoke of sate inspection lic#.
This can really snowball.
If this goes to court.....mention this to the judge.....but first notify ur state police.
BOB

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 1:45PM
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patrice607

Bob -

The car was inspected in April of 05. So I don't think that this is recent enough to call about. I can't imagine that they would guarantee that the car is drivable for more than a year after the inspection.

Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 8:16PM
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bob7255khz

Well no, thats too long of a period , so that option is out. Take him to small claims court and see what happens....looks 50/ 50 draw to me.
If all fails , I'd trade the car in on another used car....instead of putting $3k into this car , I'd put the 3 grand towards something else.If u sell it outright.....ur putting urself in the same position of the fella that sold it to u.....duhhhh.
This situation is very hard to swallow.....like u said it wasn't alot of money in todays world , but yes it is when it's UR money.
Keep us all posted on ur outcome.
Bob in Pa

    Bookmark   September 22, 2006 at 10:20AM
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christopherh

Isn't it spelled "YOUR" and not "UR"?

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 7:32AM
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christopherh

I just did a Google for Daytona floorpans and came up with a Dodge forum where they discuss this exact problem with Daytonas. The link is posted below.
One poster found replacement floorpans for under $250.
Your son wants a project car? Now he can learn all about cars from the ground up.

But the broken odometer is a big legal issue. Usually, every time a car is sold, the odometer reading is posted on the bill of sale. You might be able to talk to the state police about this because this may be a major case of a rolled back odometer. And somebody may go to jail over this. Like maybe this unlicensed "dealer"!

Here is a link that might be useful: Dodge Forum

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 7:46AM
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gary__

**But the broken odometer is a big legal issue.**

Maybe maybe not. I haven't heard of a law that requires the odometer to work forever and ever. There are rules regarding discloser if it's been repaired, replaced, or otherwise known to be inaccurate. Not to many years ago all odometers only went to 99999 miles. Once it spun over to zero's the first time there's no telling actual miles. One might make an issue out of this if we were talking about a 2004 Honda accord or something. Not sure how much protesting one can do over this kind of thing when talking about a 20 year old Dodge.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 7:52PM
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patrice607

Christopherh -

Thanks but you found my son's (Burnz086) post. He's trying to figure out a way to salvage this. The parts aren't so expensive, but the labor is the dealbreaker. He is trying to find someone who will do the body work cheaper. One mechanic suggested just doing a patch job on the driver's side and replacing the rockers.

Gary -

You are right on the odometer issue. The police told us that the seller was not required to put the mileage on the bill of sale. They were not interested in the fact that he did and that it was fraudulant. Our attorney says this will support the fraud claim. Not disclosing that the odometer was broken will also hurt him but he will claim that it was working when he sold it to us and must have broken when my son drove it home. The plot thickens...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 12:17AM
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patrice607

Update -

The starter went out on the Daytona - $400.00 to fix. So, the tow truck came yesterday and took it to the junkyard. A $2000 car gone in a month! Tuition in the school of hard knocks...

I think my son has gotten over his obsesssion with Daytonas. He's buying a firebird.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 12:00AM
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steve_o

I'm guessing that he'll take the Firebird to a good mechanic before he parts with his $$!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 10:22AM
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quirkyquercus

Oh great idea. Your insurance co is going to love that. Just buy a toyota econobox for the lad and let him make payments at Momma's buy here/pay here. It'll never break and leave ya stranded and more practical for the age group.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 12:55PM
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earthworm

The parents must teach their children the fine art of buying stuff( both major and minor stuff), it is NOT the states job, they do enough already, maybe too much..

Some children learn the easy way, some - the hard way..I did not learn the easy way, the 8 year old Hudson 8's engine was shot, the car was worthless, but I paid $100 'for it anyway - from a Ford dealer..
Rule one - always check out the seller/dealer..
Better to avoid the dealers - but many are decent and honest...

$400 for the Daytona's starter ?? We fixed the one in the '50 Buick with some masking tape and I think two new bushings..
Back then, there was little money to throw away....

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 12:37AM
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steve_o

Back then you didn't have electronic ignitions which were far more reliable than those in a 1950 Buick. Back then people lit candles if the tires lasted more than 20,000 miles despite rotation and careful driving. Back then, heaters were optional. Back then people earned $25/week in pay.

There's a big difference between then and now. Sure, people still need to be careful when buying. But today's vehicles resemble 50-year-old vehicles the same way today's Airbus resembles a B-29 bomber. They both fly. After that, all bets are off. Current cars are far more reliable than they used to be -- unfortunately, that comes at a price when they do have problems.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2006 at 8:47AM
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bill_h

i`am sure every person on here has lost a few bucks on a bad used car at some time in their life, know i have. you live you learn. thats life

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 12:21AM
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kdurham_mauijim_com

just bought a 2004 Nissan maxima from a dealer last week and having problems what can I do ? 80,0000 $11,0000 no warranty

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 3:53PM
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bill_h

just bought a 2004 Nissan maxima from a dealer last week and having problems what can I do ? PUT IT ON GRAIGS LIST FOR 12,000 IN EXCELENT COND. MAYBE YOU`LL MAKE A CPL OF BUCKS.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2011 at 6:58PM
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