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Buyer Beware – Sales Of Unsafe Motor Vehicles

On Behalf of | Feb 4, 2016 | Litigation

On January 26, 2016, the Supreme Court issued decisions concerning the sales of unsafe vehicles in New Hampshire. New Hampshire is one of the few states that allows dealers to sell unsafe vehicles (meaning, vehicles that will not pass a state safety inspection) to the public. To do so, however, the New Hampshire Division of Motor Vehicles requires the dealer to present the purchaser with a number of documents that clearly state the vehicle is not safe and will not pass a New Hampshire inspection. The purchaser must specifically acknowledge receipt of those documents.

In the cases of Roy v. Quality Pro Auto, LLC and Smith v. Milko Pesa two purchasers argued they were entitled a refund after the vehicles they purchased were unable to pass a motor vehicle safety inspection. Despite using different arguments, however, both purchasers failed to convince the New Hampshire Supreme Court. The Supreme Court held that the prominent disclaimers on the purchase documents, and the buyer’s signatures on these documents, meant the buyers were both aware of the defects in the vehicles and understood that the dealers were making no warranties concerning the quality of the vehicle. The Supreme Court further held the Uniform Commercial Code, which specifies that goods must be “merchantable” (that is would meet ordinary levels of quality) does not apply in situations where the parties agreed that the vehicles were not merchantable (that is, undriveable).

Both cases emphasize the importance that any purchaser of a used car should carefully read any document provided by the seller, especially documents which attempt to waive warranties or advises the purchaser that the vehicle will not pass a safety inspection. If the purchaser has received and signed these documents and thereafter elects to go forward with the purchase they will probably be unable to rescind the purchase should be rescinded when the vehicle is found to be unsafe.

If you have questions regarding your purchase of a vehicle, contact an attorney at Hamblett & Kerrigan.

Andrew J. Piela is a Director at Hamblett & Kerrigan, P.A. Mr. Piela concentrates his practice in civil litigation, family law, probate and land use litigation. You can reach Attorney Piela by e-mail at [email protected].