The Reasonable Person – Georgia Car Law Authority

In this video, we’re going to talk about a few different things that all kind of combine together into one when a consumer makes a dispute with a dealer: sophistication policies, due diligence, and reasonableness. It’s important not only to have policies and procedures but to consider what a reasonable consumer does and treat the consumers like reasonable consumers. The “reasonable person” standard is critically important in Georgia law. Learn all about it in this video.

Below is a transcript of the video:

Now we’re going to talk about a few different things that all kind of combine together into one in most cases where you have a consumer making a dispute with a dealer. That’s sophistication policies, due diligence, and reasonableness. Here’s what happens in most cases, there’s an evaluation made of the sophistication of the consumer versus the dealer.

So if the consumer knows nothing about cars, couldn’t have discovered a problem, but the dealer should have. These go to policies, inspections, pre-sale inspections, and policies on how the dealer prepares a car for sale.

These are really important to have written down in a Policies and Procedures manual, because then a consumer can’t say, “Well, you should have found this” or the dealer should have known of this problem. The dealer can say, “look, we have these policies. This is our 26-point checklist, and that’s not one of those things so it’s not something that we would have found.” Then the other piece to that is due diligence and reasonableness.

The Reasonable PersonDue diligence is what we call the opportunity for the consumer to evaluate the vehicle, perhaps get it inspected, review a Carfax, test drive, or anything the consumer needs to do before buying a car. This is especially important in an as-is transaction because the consumer can’t always just rely on the reliability of the car knowing they have a warranty because they don’t it’s as-is. Due diligence is really important. Then what happens in lawsuits, in cases that are in court and litigation, cases boil down to the reasonable person, and none of us really know exactly what a reasonable person is, because there isn’t one person that we can go ask and say, “you’re a reasonable person. How would you have handled this situation?” That’s something that a jury or a judge would interpret. A judge would interpret or determine, what would a reasonable person do in that situation? What would a reasonable consumer have known? What would a reasonable consumer have discovered? If a consumer buys a car and the bumper is missing from the car, or there’s a huge dent in a quarter panel or something like that, then it’s reasonable for the consumer to know that this car probably has some kind of accident history or at least a damage history that would cause a reasonable person to investigate.

But if the car looks pristine and clean on the outside, is a reasonable consumer going to slide up under a car and look at it before they buy a car? No, probably not. Most reasonable consumers don’t go that far in their due diligence. Let’s say there’s a problem that a reasonable consumer would not have discovered, it’s very different than a problem that a reasonable consumer would have discovered.

It’s important not only to have policies and procedures but to consider what a reasonable consumer does and treat the consumers like reasonable consumers. That’s just something to keep in mind as a dealer is selling cars to consumers and facing potential litigation or demand letters from an opposing attorney or from their consumer regarding that issue.

 

 

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

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