Care For Sale

Inside the Law: Truth in Car Ads

June 15, 2018 - 3:00 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions​

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- If you're selling your old car, how much do you have to tell the new buyer? 

You want a sweet ride? You won't get it from the 1999 Toyota Corolla a Houston man wrote about in his ad: if you want a car that literally no one will compliment you on, look no further." The man also said there was no rear-view camera but it did come with a transparent rear window and you have a neck that can turn. 

Sounds so awful, I kind of want to buy it because at least I understand what I am getting. Which is, not much. 

If you're trying to sell your car, how much do you have to tell a potential buyer? 

While there are laws that strictly govern disclosure for used car dealers, in most states, car sales between individuals are assumed to be as-is, so you wouldn't be liable for future repairs. That said, you can be liable if you make a false statement like the car was never in an accident, and in some states you can be liable if you fail to disclose a material fact like that the car doesn't have brakes. 

Simple puffery-oh, it's a beaut!, is not considered fraud or failure to disclose but perhaps complete honesty is the best policy after all as the Corolla seller is finding if you don't want to stick your neck out and risk violating the law.