Tuesday, January 17, 2017

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: A car dealer’s affirmative duty to disclose in an “as-is” sale to a consumer in Ohio

 The Ohio Advertisement and Sale of Motor Vehicles Rule and the Consumer Act require a car dealer to affirmatively disclose the following to a consumer before selling the consumer a motor vehicle:
1. Prior damage to a new vehicle that the dealer knows about, where the retail cost of repair exceeds or exceeded 6% of the vehicle's MSRP. OAC 109:4-3-16(B)(14);
2. The fact that a motor vehicle has previously been titled as a salvage vehicle when the car dealer knows about it. OAC 109:4-3-16(B)(29);
3. Obvious defects in a motor vehicle at the time of sale whether or not the car dealer knows about them. Muench v. Eagle Savings Assn. & Hassan Motors, Inc. (C.P. Hamilton, 3/30/87) Case No. A 850744, Filed as PIF #861 on 5/5/87.

What kinds of damage must be disclosed?  Any damage to a new motor vehicle, excluding damage to glass, tires and bumpers replaced by identical manufacturer's original equipment. Or, damage to a used motor vehicle which caused the vehicle to be titled as a salvage vehicle, or damage to a vehicle which is substantial and obvious.  

What if the damage occurred before the dealer came into possession of the vehicle? This does not change the rules at all. The Ohio Advertisement and Sale of Motor Vehicles Rule and the Consumer Act do not distinguish between damage that occurred before or during the dealership's possession of the vehicle.

How must the damage be disclosed?  There is no requirement that the disclosures be made by the car dealer in writing. So, they can either be in writing or orally.

What if I purchased the motor vehicle primarily for business use?  If the primary purpose of your purpose was not personal use, then neither the Ohio Advertisement and Sale of Motor Vehicles Rule nor the Consumer Act apply to you. Therefore, the car dealer would not be required to disclose any of this information to you.  However, you may still have claims under a common law fraud standard, or under the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

Has on Ohio car dealer failed to disclose significant damage or defects in a vehicle that you purchased from them for consumer use? Contact the dealer and see if they will take the vehicle back and give you your money back. If not, then you can contact the Ohio Attorney General's Consumer Protection Office, 30 E. Broad St., 14th floor, Columbus, Ohio 43215-3428, 1-877-244-6446. Or, you may want to contact a private attorney who specializes in Car Sales Fraud in Ohio.  Feel free to call Burdge Law Office on our Toll Free Hotline, 1.888.331.6422, to see if we can help you out of your "lemon" vehicle.

Beth Wells

Helping Consumers Get Rid of Lemons, 13 Years Running

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