As-Is – Georgia Car Law Authority

At our law firm, we know that face. The one our clients give us when we drop the hammer and tell them that the as-is documents signed by the customer aren’t helpful when the customer sues them. In some limited situations, “as is” is not a legal defense. Watch this video for a further explanation.

Below is a transcript of the video:

Let’s talk about as-is vehicle sales, the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, and something I come across a lot in lawsuits against car dealers. A lot of dealers think if they list a car, as-is, it means that there’s no way a plaintiff or a consumer can come back at them for any warranty issue or for any problem at all with the car. Bad news – that is not correct. I see too often plaintiffs or consumers, through their attorney, filed lawsuits against dealers alleging that they ask things like, “is this a good, reliable car? Has it been in an accident before? Has it ever sustained any damage? Is there any damage to the car? Is there anything wrong with the car?” And the dealer says, “no, no, no, no, no, it’s a great car. You’re going to love it. No, no accident history. You know, it’s smooth driving and you’re not going to have any issues or problems. This is the car for you.”As-Is

Typical sales tactics. Sometimes that can be a violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act if the dealer is concealing knowledge of an issue and trying to hide behind an as-is clause in a contract. The dealer having superior knowledge cannot commit such a fraud. That would be a violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act. Every case is different and every circumstance is different so there’s a difference between a violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act and what we in the law call puffery or sales puffing or mere puffing.

That is a legal term that basically is “this is a good car.” That’s a sales tactic. That doesn’t tell the consumer anything about the vehicle’s history or hide anything necessarily about the car. If the dealer is hiding knowledge that it has of some other issue, let’s say from an auction disclosure by telling the customer this is a good, reliable car that’s never been in an accident and has no damage when in fact it does, then the as-is doesn’t save the dealer from that just because there’s an as-is transaction.

Again, though, these are very case-specific inquiries that must be made on a case-by-case basis. There’s no general blanket rule on this stuff, but it is important to know that the as-is contract language does not always relieve the dealer from any and all possible claims.

 

For more videos on the Georgia Car Law Authority series, please visit www.georgiacarlaw.com.

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