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Your Used Car is a lemon; what do you do?

Published on March 29th, 2018

Express and Implied Warranties and You…

The warranty protections in this article apply to any goods you purchase but for some reason cars seem to generate most of the un-happy consumers. I worked a long time in Peoria and got to know the car dealers in a way where they weren’t fans of mine.

One client had a matter where the Express Warranty provision of the Uniform Commercial Code found at Chapter 810 Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 5/2-313 applied. He was buying a used car and was concerned about and specifically asked whether it was or wasn’t a former rental car. He did not want to buy a former rental car due to the wear they endure. The dealer said it was not. In this was in the pre “CARFAX” era but the client actually was able to track the title history of the car and it was a former rental car. The dealership’s statement on the rental car question was as the statute says an affirmation of fact made by the seller to the buyer which relates to the goods (the car) and becomes a basis of the bargain. My client wanted out of the deal. We set a meeting with the dealership less than a week after receiving the vehicle. We went in and when I introduced myself as an attorney within an hour we got the original car back, returned the former rental car and got the load repaid to the lender.

The “Implied Warranty of Merchantability” is found the Uniform Commercial Code Section found at Chapter 810 Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 5/2-314. This “Implied Warranty of Merchantability” in plain English is if you buy a car from a dealer the car should be “fit for the ordinary purposes for which such goods are used”. Meaning if you’ve done nothing to damage the car yourself it should be drivable.

Another statute provides a specific statutory warranty for the Power Train of the Vehicle purchased found at Chapter 815 Illinois Compiled Statutes Section 505/2L. This is the Consumer Fraud Act and it provides for a thirty (30) post purchase period of liability to the car dealer for a percentage of the cost of repairing a damaged Power Train. The percentage goes down with the age of the car, if it is less than 2 years old it is fifty percent (50%) and by the time we are dealing with a car over 4 year old there is no liability.

A recent Illinois Supreme Court case on the issue of used car purchases is Mydlach v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation, 226 I11. 2d 307 (IL S. Ct. 2007). The plaintiff; a woman named Mydlach, purchased a used car from a dealer in Elgin, IL that was about 2 years old. It was still covered by the Manufacturer’s warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles whichever comes first. At purchase the car had about 1 year or 10,000 miles left under the warranty. Theere were repeated unsuccessful repairs for a fluid leak and Miss Mydlach wanted to “revoke her acceptance”, in plain English return the car and get her money back. She chose to sue the manufacturer instead of the dealer. The trail court entered orders in favor of the manufacturer based on the claim that the warranty was not made to Miss Mydlach but to the original buyer. The Appellate Court found the trail court was in error. The manufacturer appealed to the Illinois Supereme Court. The Illinois Supreme Court in Mydlach v. Daimler Chrysler Corporation said she was able to proceed on the remainder of the warranty and attempt to revoke the purchase.

So when you purchase cars, boats, and other durable goods and you are not getting the new item value you hoped for and need to get out of the deal; consulting an attorney is your best move.

 Thanks for reading,
Joe Sparacino,
Attorney at Law

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