My “AS IS” car turned out to be a Lemon. Is there anything I can do?

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Just about any car Alabama consumers buy that is not new will be sold “as is.” Does this mean that the seller can sell you a junker or a lemon and you’re just out of luck because you agreed to purchase the car “as is.”

Under Alabama law, you may be able to revoke the purchase. Even though you buy a car “as is,” you still expect the car to work. The technical term under Alabama law, is that the car must be a “conforming good.” In other words, if the dealer sold you a car that he or she represented would be reliable, or said it would be good for getting you to and from work, or some other such representation and the car breaks down within a reasonable time period after your bought it, then the “good” or car is non-conforming. That is, it doesn’t conform to your expectations.

If you buy a used car that turns out has a lot of problems, you have the right to revoke the car. This does not mean you can automatically revoke any “as is” purchase. To revoke the car, you must meet certain criteria set out in the Alabama Code § 7-2-608. These are basically:

– the revocation or return of the car to the dealer must be within a reasonable period of time after the discovery that the car is non-conforming.

– the revocation or return must occur before any substantial change is made to the car, other than the defect you are complaining of, such as attempted repairs, etc
– revocation is not effective until buyer notifies the seller of the car

Upon revocation, you should be put in the same position as if you had never accepted the car. In other words, if you have made payments, you can ask for them back; if you traded in an older car, you should ask for it back (this will often be difficult as the seller usually sells your trade-in shortly after you drive off the lot)

Revocation does not work in all instances and you should probably consult an attorney before doing so. However, as a consumer you need to be aware that you have a right to expect that you are receiving the benefit of your bargain. Though a dealer cannot guarantee there is nothing wrong with a used car, it should meet your basic expectations and not fall apart shortly after you drive it off the lot.

Another resource for you is to join our Facebook Fan Page – Alabama Consumer Protection Attorneys where we share useful information about the same types of issues that we cover in this blog.

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