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Used Cars/Bought Used and It Is a Lemon


Last Sunday night, I purchased a used car. We test drove it, inspected it, and all was well. The man who we thought was a private party told us he was a wholesale dealer and had bought the vehicle at auction. It was a repossession and had all the appropriate documentation, his mechanic had looked it over, and it was in good condition but sold AS-IS. The only thing he told us was that the mechanic had put a little too much transmission fluid in so we would see some blow-back fluid on our way home. Ok, fine. After we had gotten the title all squared away, he wrote his dealer number on it and said it was from Indiana. We're in South Carolina. Strange but whatever. 2 miles down the road, the vehicle began smoking. We limped it home and took it to OUR mechanic the next day. He said that the transfer case had blown and that the front drive shaft (that enables 4WD) was removed to try and prolong the life of the transfer case by a few weeks. This vehicle was advertised as having 4WD, and we would not have purchased it otherwise. It wasn't something we could check during a test drive. The seller had told us originally that he didn't know it didn't have the front drive shaft but has since slipped and said that his mechanic has it and "took it off to do something on the transmission but forgot to put it back on". They took it off and made up a story and sold us the vehicle knowing that those things were missing and wrong with it but still advertised it as being in good condition and having that feature. According to our mechanic, he knowingly put us in danger because the car could have caught on fire with that much transmission fluid hitting the exhaust. What recourse do we have? Can we get our money back for this vehicle or at the very least, enough money back for us to get it fixed? Or are we stuck with something that we wouldn't have even went and looked at but for the 4WD?

Damnit Jessica sorry you are going through all this

The short answer is maybe...but people don't write to me for the short answer usually so strap on your helmet and let me first tell you about Indiana Wholesale Dealer Licenses ...they are not generally recognized outside of Indiana ..wannabe dealers RENT these licenses on a month to month basis in order to be allowed admission into a dealers only auction ... which used to work great but now people are catching on ...THOSE LICENSES ONLY ALLOW WHOLESALE TRANSACTIONS ...NOT RETAIL. In other words he was acting as a dealer without a license and thats a crime punishable by some whopper 1,000's of dollars per violation.

The reason the industry frowns on these licenses is because of people like Mr. Sunday Night. Sooo this is both an attorney general issue but more imp[ortantly it's also a DMV issue ...and trust me when I tell you that there is nothing and no one who can shut a dealer down faster than the DMV. But how does that get you your $$ back. I would proceed as follows:

1. I would fire up a quick demand letter to the asshole who sold you the car and put him on notice that you require him to immediately unwind the deal and refund your money ...naturally he will ignore this part so in the same letter you need to let him know that he has violated the South carolina unfair trade practices act along with both state and federal laws regarding these types of transactions. Not to mention the DMV complaints you will be filing on both states along with a reminder of what the penalty is for acting as a dealer without a dealer license ($1,000.00 per incident in Oregon)Here is the penalty in S Carolina ...$1,000.00 per incident PLUS up to 2 years in prison! Tell him with the aggravating factors in this case that he can expect to do some jail time because his mistake was thinking that you would just lay there and take will NOT!

The key here is to come at this guy hard and fast like the wrath of God ...and leave him an escape hatch (giving you your money back immediately) to run for in order to save himself ...I would be glad to proof read and edit your letter before you send it and it would be real nice if you also had an email address (I bet Indiana DMV has one for him and his address) as well.

Give me great reviews and ask all the follow ups you want ...need to send me your letter to edit then send it to

Here is an interesting link regarding the Indiana Wholesale license scam

Also let him know that you will be filing a claim against his bond and filing suit againt him and anyone else who is working under that same license and will be filing a criminal complaint with the FBI against him and then give him 5 days to make it right  

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Roger Alvey


I can answer any question about the car buying process. I am a recognized industry expert on all issues regarding auto finance, including sub prime and buy here pay here financing, I can answer questions about car lock out systems, GPS monitoring by your bank, and about auto recovery methods and defenses. I am a 20 yr car industry expert and can tell you what to look for in a used car, how to negotiate the deal, help with how to market your own car, and how to negotiate with the internet department of any car store. I can tell you every single way the dealer is set up to beat you and how to avoid those traps, I can discuss all aftermarket and extended service contract products you will be offered in the finance process, I have lectured extensively on "The Best Way to Buy a Car" to civic groups and university students. I am a credit expert and can tell you what the dealer and banks are looking for and the rate you can expect to pay. CHECK OUT MY WEBSITE AT


20 years industry experience in top management of dealerships and dealer groups. Recognized industry expert since 2004 in the Top 10 industry experts for The Gerson Lehrman Groups Auto Industry Council. I also do consulting work for Experts360, Atheneum Partners, Expert Connect and Coleman Research. I have been a franchise owner and understand all facets of the auto industry from the time the car leaves the factory until it leaves the lot with it's new owner. I have written training materials for both the prime and the subprime sales and finance process.

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Willamette University - Salem Oregon BA Economics Willamette University Graduate School of Business - Econometrics Statistics

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