When you purchase a vehicle for yourself, it is important to be skeptical of any claims made by the car dealer. You have the responsibility of looking out for any potential problems with the vehicle.
Do not trust the car dealer or used car salesman.
Even if a salesperson orally misrepresents that a used car or truck has not been in a wreck or sustained any damage in an accident when, in fact, it had, you may not be able to succeed in a case against the dealership for fraud and deceit in Georgia.
To have a successful claim for fraud and deceit, one must satisfy five key elements: (1) false representation made by defendant; (2) knowledge of the falsity; (3) intention to induce plaintiff to act or refrain from acting in reliance by plaintiff; (4) justifiable reliance by plaintiff; and (5) damage to plaintiff. Jegadeesh v. Ryan, 293 Ga.App. 341 (2008). “
To make out a viable claim of fraud, a plaintiff must prove not only that he or she relied upon the misrepresentation, but must also demonstrate that the reliance was reasonable. See Brown v. Techdata Corp., 238 Ga. 622, (1977).
Whether it is reasonable to rely upon a specific misrepresentation is usually a question for a jury. Still, sometimes, the answer is so clear that a court can determine the question as a matter of law. Raysoni v. Payless Auto Deals, LLC, 296 Ga. 156 (Ga. 2014)
Therefore, even if the salesperson falsely states to a customer that the vehicle has not been in an accident or previously damaged, the courts will find in their favor if the buyer’s order or sales agreement discloses in writing that the vehicle had been damaged and is replete with disclaimers. Raysoni v. Payless Auto Deals, LLC, 323 Ga. App. 583 (Ga. App. 2014). See also, Jegadeesh v. Ryan, 293 Ga.App. 341 (2008) (affirming trial court’s grant of defendants’ motion related to their fraud action where defendants had represented that they were unaware of any water damage to house; plaintiffs could demonstrate neither a misrepresentation nor justifiable reliance, given their knowledge of the damage); El– Amin v. Nalley Motor Trucks, 215 Ga.App. 509 (1994) (affirming the granting of summary judgment to seller when the disclosure statement warned that odometer was incorrect and when the buyer conceded that the seller had stated to him that he did not know the correct mileage on the car.
However, when written materials received at the point of sale confirm a dealer’s misrepresentation as to a vehicle’s condition, neither a written contract’s general disclaimer that a car is sold “as is” with “no warranty” nor a buyer’s failure to obtain an independent examination of the car can establish that the purchaser was not sufficiently diligent in investigating the purchase as a matter of law. See Raysoni, 296 Ga. at 159–160, (a “ general disclaimer of warranties,” including “AS IS NO WARRANTY” clause, which was “at least arguably, equivocal and limited,” did not preclude reasonable reliance on a car report indicating that a car had not been damaged; dealer’s written advice to obtain an independent inspection “does not … squarely contradict the representations upon which [the plaintiff] bought the [vehicle]”and thus “[did] not make his reliance unreasonable as a matter of law”).
As a dealership fraud attorney, I will analyze your case to determine if you reasonably relied on the car dealer’s statements to your detriment and whether you have a viable fraud case.
Contact the consumer advocate lawyer today for your free consultation.