Over Two Decades Of Experienced Litigation And Advocacy In Columbus

Can sellers avoid disclosures by selling used vehicles as-is?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Consumer Sales Violatinos

It is common for those buying used vehicles to worry about the condition of a car, truck or SUV. People frequently use professional services specifically because the state licenses dealerships and restricts certain behaviors. The regulations that apply to used car sales generally make people feel more confident completing a purchase. For example, they expect honesty from a salesperson when they look at a used vehicle.

Technically, Ohio law requires disclosures about the condition of a vehicle. Sellers typically have to provide accurate information about the most recent odometer reading for the vehicle. They also need to provide accurate information about known issues with the vehicle.

Can salespeople and dealerships avoid disclosure laws by selling a vehicle as is?

As-is transactions can still violate disclosure laws

The vehicles for sale on a used car lot in Ohio typically fall into two categories. There are used vehicles with warranties attached, possibly due to dealership services and refurbishing efforts. Other times, dealerships clearly list vehicles for sale in as-is condition. The dealerships do not make any promises about the condition of the vehicle or agree to make repairs if there are issues shortly after the transaction.

Buyers may worry about their rights if they purchase an as-is vehicle that turns out to have several significant defects. They should know about any major issues before making a decision about a specific used vehicle. Sadly, people may uncover defects after a purchase. It may be the first time someone takes the vehicle to their mechanic for an oil change or other regular service requirements that they learn about issues with the vehicle.

Undisclosed defects could decrease how long the vehicle services the new owner and how much it is worth on the resale market. Even when dealerships list vehicles for sale in as-is condition, there is still an obligation to thoroughly disclose issues with the vehicle. Whether it has begun burning oil due to age or has issues with the transmission, the seller must include disclosures about those known issues even if they sell the vehicle as-is.

Buyers who discover that a vehicle was previously part of a rental fleet, that the seller rebuilt a vehicle with a salvage title or that the vehicle suffered flood damage after a purchase may question the safety and value of the vehicle they purchased. A failure to disclose known vehicle defects might constitute a form of sales fraud in some cases. Taking legal action against a dealership could compensate someone for the difference in value based on the defects uncovered or for the cost of repairing defects.