DEN­NIS O’SUL­LI­VAN

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS - DEN­NIS O’SUL­LI­VAN

The pit­falls of buy­ing a car “as is”

QUES­TION

Hi Mr. O’Sul­li­van! I hope that you can help me be­cause I have nowhere else to turn. I pur­chased a car from a small used car lot and the prob­lem is that I pur­chased it “as is”. I did not even get off the lot and the mo­tor quit. They brought the ve­hi­cle back into the shop where they do small jobs and two days later, I am told that the car needs a new mo­tor. I had to scrape the money to­gether just to buy this ve­hi­cle and I can­not af­ford to pay an­other fif­teen hun­dred dol­lars for a used en­gine. Ev­ery­one who I talk to has told me that I bought the car “as is” and that I have no le­gal claims against the car lot. Please help me!

Martha from Freel­ton

AN­SWER

The term “as is” can be mis­in­ter­preted by the seller and the buyer alike and some­times what is writ­ten on the bill of sale can come back to haunt many a seller. The term “as is” is gen­er­ally ac­cepted through­out the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try whereas once the money is ex­changed and the trans­ac­tion has taken place, the buyer has ac­cepted the ve­hi­cle in what­ever con­di­tion it is in at the time of the sale. Fur­ther to that, the buyer is legally ac­cept­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity for any re­pairs needed af­ter the car is driven “off the lot” of the used car dealer.

The courts do not look kindly on the seller if they are sell­ing the ve­hi­cle “as is” while as­sur­ing the buyer that the car can eas­ily pass the me­chan­i­cal safety when the seller knows that it will not and can­not be me­chan­i­cally cer­ti­fied. When the words “as is” are used on the sales agree­ment and prob­lems oc­cur, many sell­ers are dragged into court based on what was told to the buyer be­fore pur­chas­ing the car. On your pur­chase agree­ment, the seller has writ­ten that the car has a “me­chan­i­cal safety and runs great”. Not even get­ting off the lot does not fit the term “runs great” and this type of sit­u­a­tion does not in the end go well for an es­tab­lished used car dealer even if they are not legally re­spon­si­ble to do any­thing for you. Morally re­spon­si­ble is an­other mat­ter and the used car dealer is, in this sit­u­a­tion, tak­ing the high road. You are go­ing to get all your money back mi­nus one hun­dred and fifty dol­lars for ad­min­is­tra­tion fees.

PS: to the buy­ers - never buy a ve­hi­cle “as is” if you in­tend to cer­tify it un­less you first have a tech­ni­cian look at the car.

PS: to the sell­ers - never sell a used car “as is” with­out adding the words “parts only” if you truly do not want any fur­ther reper­cus­sions af­ter the sale.

QUES­TION

I have a stone chip in my wind­shield on the far right. I called my in­sur­ance com­pany about the dam­age and they told me that I have to have it re­paired and they will not pay to have the wind­shield re­placed if it can be re­paired and if it is not ob­struct­ing the driver’s vi­sion. I do not want the wind­shield to be re­paired. I want a new wind­shield. Can the in­sur- ance com­pany force me to have the wind­shield re­paired or do I have the right to de­mand a new wind­shield?

Hum­mid from Hamil­ton

AN­SWER

Depend­ing on who your in­surer is, I be­lieve that the in­sur­ance com­pany has the right to re­pair or re­place. If I was faced with a small chip re­pair that you can­not see af­ter the re­pair is done then that is the route that I would go to main­tain the qual­ity of the fac­tory wind­shield. If the wind­shield is re­paired, most in­sur­ance com­pa­nies will not make you pay any­thing. If you re­place the wind­shield, there may be a de­ductible that has to be paid.

QUES­TION

I have a ques­tion about a lawn mower. I want to change the blade but I can­not get the nut off. I am afraid that if I use a bar for lever­age, I might break the bolt. Any ideas?

Bill from Hamil­ton

AN­SWER

You have not told us the year or make of the lawn mower but some of the older mod­els were built with left-handed threads. Be­fore you start to re­move the blade, make sure that you have dis­con­nected the spark plug.

PS Read­ers, Please be ad­vised that all emails can­not be an­swered. Send your ques­tions (be sure to in­clude your ad­dress) by email to: den­nis.osul­li­van@co­geco.ca or mail: Box 10019, Wi­nona, ON L8E 5R1

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