In March of 2015, the Pennsylvania Superior Court drafted an opinion (Silver v. Porsche of the Main Line, et al.) that hurts consumers when it comes to suing Car Dealerships for misrepresentations. According to the Court, unless the misrepresentations are contained in the final written contract, consumers may be prevented from suing the dealership even if consumers relied on those misrepresentations when deciding to buy the car. Let’s look at an example:
You go to a used car dealership. You find a used car that you want to buy and start to ask the salesman questions about its condition. The salesman says the car is in “like new” condition, never been in an accident, and will last for many years to come. Relying on these statement, you decide to buy the car, sign all of the paperwork, and drive your new used car off of the lot. A few weeks later, you take the car to your local body shop for a tune up, and the mechanic tells you the car was in a front end accident. You were never told about this accident prior to buying the car, and now you are furious.
According to the recent Court Opinion, you may not be able to sue the dealership because of a legal principle called the “Parol Evidence Rule.” That Rule says that in court you cannot use verbal agreements or statements made prior to entering a written contract. This is especially true when you purchase a car “As-Is.”
This is a bad decision for consumers because verbal statements made by the dealership is one of the most influential parts of a car sale. The Superior Court is essentially giving the dealership the ability to lie to you with little to no legal recourse.
Does this mean you really can’t sue a dealership if they outright lie to you? No! Thankfully, the Pennsylvania Superior Court did leave some loopholes. For one, this mainly applies only to cars purchased “As-Is.” Additionally, the car dealership has to follow the proper “As-Is” disclosure laws, which they rarely do. Finally, the written contract has to have certain language that will prevent the introduction of verbal statements. In other words, there are ways around this Opinion to make sure you are protected.
The Auto Fraud Attorneys at Morrow and Artim, P.C. know how to get around this issue and protest you rights. Give us a call today so that we can assess your case to determine whether you have any recourse against the evil dealership who sold you that piece of crap.