A lot of dealers think if they list a car, “as-is” it means they are protected if a consumer or plaintiff comes after them for a warranty issue or for problems with the car after the sale. Bad news: that’s not actually true. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between fraudulent statements vs. sales puffery and how an “as-is” clause is not a catch-all protection tactic for car dealers.
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Navigating “As-Is” Sales
At our firm we often see plaintiffs or consumers, through their attorneys, file lawsuits against dealers alleging that they asked questions 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?” To which the dealer responds, “No, no, no, accident history. It’s smooth driving and you’re not going to have any issues or problems. It’s a great car. You’re going to love it.”
The aforementioned dealer responses are tricky because they can either be considered fraudulent or sales puffery. If the dealer is concealing knowledge of an issue and trying to hide behind an “as-is” clause in a contract or they have superior knowledge, concealing it is fraud and a violation of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act (GFBPA). In a case like this, an “as-is” clause does not protect a dealer. If a dealer says things like “this is a good car” it doesn’t tell the consumer anything about the vehicle’s history nor does it necessarily hide anything about the car. If the dealer is not found to be hiding anything, then it is considered sale puffery, not a violation of the GFBPA.
“As-Is” Sales: Lowering Your Risk
Issues related to “as-is” sales are case-specific and the outcomes vary from case to case. While there is no general blanket rule to follow when it comes to “as-is” sales, it is important to know that the “as-is” contract language does not always relieve the dealer from any and all possible claims. This is why it is always best to be honest and seek legal counsel if you are unsure.
How Can We Help
If you are looking for more support when it comes to understanding or navigating an as-is sales issue, book a strategy session with us here. We’ll personalize your counsel and guide you through everything to ensure your business is protected. You can also find more information at www.georgiacarlaw.com.
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